We tend to think of geology as a slow moving force, something which rarely interferes on the scale of a human life. But every once in a while, geology comes up and shows us that it is actually ruling the Earth. Such is the case with the Hawai’i lava flow.

Image credits: USGS.

In case you didn’t know, a slow moving lava flow is encroaching on Pahoa, a rural town on Hawaii’s Big Island, threatening to destroy a major road in the already-isolated town at the site of an old sugar plantation. No homes have been destroyed and no lives have been threatened, though there has been significant property damage. But more than anything else, the lava flow cannot be stopped, and it’s not clear when it will stop.

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President Obama has already declared the lava flow from the Pu’u O’o vent of the Kilauea volcano to be a major disaster. This photograph from Sunday morning shows a breakout from an inflated lava-flow lobe, which took place about 200 meters (218 yards) upslope of the stalled leading edge. These breakouts have been common over the past few days and are filling in low points behind the flow front.

You can stay up to date with the most recent developments at this address: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/