January-June 1999

JANUARY 7, 1999 - Jenda flew out with HVO to see what Pu'u O'o was up to. The new pit (Puka Nui) is growing on the south side. The cone just keeps collapsing. The inner crater remains shrouded in fume and lava is rarely visible. From the ground (below) the pit looms over geologist Dave Sherrod, barely visible in front of it.

February 7, 1999: There were some big breakouts following another pause in the eruption. Jenda was out there and filmed the big a'a flows as they came over the pali (cliff) above her, about 1 pm. By evening, pahoehoe flows stretched almost to the coast. Here lava is flowing back into an old skylight. Click on the image at right for a video clip.

FEBRUARY: We all made several trips down to the coast. Not too much activity - the lava remained in the tube with a big steam plume marking where it entered the ocean. The lava bench grew quite a bit and had some small collapses. A helicopter trip on Feb. 15 showed Pu'u O'o looking pretty much the same as in January.

MARCH: Cheryl went out March 7 - the bench was very large and appeared to have several growing cracks. Not much activity visible. Later that night the entire thing collapsed. Jenda went back on 3/12 and much of the bench was building back up again. Ken saw pretty much the same thing on 3/15. The most exciting footage of the month comes from 3/17, when Jenda filmed these beautiful bubbles exploding at the water's edge. Click here for a video clip of the bubbles.

APRIL: The new bench grew over 50 meters in only 3 days. As Jenda was out there on 4/3, lava would come bursting out from several locations, remain active for maybe 20 minutes, then stop again. On April 14, she caught some violent jetting explosions as parts of the lava bench calved away. By April 24, when Ken was out filming, things had quieted down, and little lava streams were visible through the steam. Click on the following images to see more video clips of littoral explosions.

Video clip (117kb)

MAY-JUNE: A four day pause in the eruption ended with surface breakouts on June 18. Jenda and Cheryl got out with HVO geologist Christina Heliker in time to videotape some gorgeous slabby pahoehoe flows on the surface. There was also a very large a'a flow that moved very quickly down the cliffs, but we couldn't get very close.