Kilauea volcano (Hawaii): lava meets water - littoral explosions (Mar 2017)

When hot, liquid lava at temperatures near 1200 deg C, directly coming from the lava tube, meets its arch-enemy water, the reaction is often violent: a battle of elements, generating ever-changing (so-called littoral) explosions in a chaos of steam, fragmented lava pieces which become new black sand, and colors.
The pictures were taken during 12-18 March from several viewpoints on water and on land. Among hundreds of similar photos, it was impossible to choose only a few, even though they cannot even come close to the fascination of watching it from relatively close. Few sights have impressed and mesmerized me as much as this battle between Pele and her sister Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi, goddess of the sea.
Ocean entry at Kamokuna on 14 Mar 2017 morning. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Ocean entry at Kamokuna on 14 Mar 2017 morning. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Hidden in steam, the fire hose constantly pours large amounts of hot lava directly into the sea. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Hidden in steam, the fire hose constantly pours large amounts of hot lava directly into the sea. (Ph... [info]
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The water reacts violently, generating so-called littoral explosions. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The water reacts violently, generating so-called littoral explosions. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Dark lava fragments are thrown to many meters height and fall back into the steam-water-lava chaos. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dark lava fragments are thrown to many meters height and fall back into the steam-water-lava chaos. ... [info]
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The explosions create beautiful, sometimes near-symmetric patters. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The explosions create beautiful, sometimes near-symmetric patters. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Steam trails are left by the flying projectiles. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Steam trails are left by the flying projectiles. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The lava hose is briefly visible. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava hose is briefly visible. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The lava hose exits the exposed lava tube in the upper cliff and then free falls in a steep, curved arch about 15 meters down into the ocean. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava hose exits the exposed lava tube in the upper cliff and then free falls in a steep, curved ... [info]
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A medium-sized explosion seen from about 50 m distance on a small boat. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A medium-sized explosion seen from about 50 m distance on a small boat. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The littoral explosions in the daylight appear black and white. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The littoral explosions in the daylight appear black and white. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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At night, the lava glow illuminates the steam red, with strong reflection on the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
At night, the lava glow illuminates the steam red, with strong reflection on the water. (Photo: Tom ... [info]
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Dark red steam trails behind lava bombs. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dark red steam trails behind lava bombs. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Night-time explosion seen from the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Night-time explosion seen from the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The lava hose can be barely seen behind the steam and explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava hose can be barely seen behind the steam and explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Beginning of an explosion at night - jets of still glowing lava fragments are thrown into the air. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Beginning of an explosion at night - jets of still glowing lava fragments are thrown into the air. (... [info]
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Only seconds later, the view is completely different. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Only seconds later, the view is completely different. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Seen from land, the larger explosions can be identified by bombs flying high above the cliff, sometimes landing tens of meters behind the cliff edge. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Seen from land, the larger explosions can be identified by bombs flying high above the cliff, someti... [info]
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At the inland part of the site, the projectiles that land behind the cliff on land have started to accumulate a small cone ("littoral cone"). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
At the inland part of the site, the projectiles that land behind the cliff on land have started to a... [info]
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The scene is illuminated by a full moon. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The scene is illuminated by a full moon. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View into an explosion at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View into an explosion at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View of the trailing lava bombs falling back into the sea at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View of the trailing lava bombs falling back into the sea at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A few days after the previous images, explosions are less frequent although the fire hose is stronger. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A few days after the previous images, explosions are less frequent although the fire hose is stronge... [info]
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The intense light from the fire hose is sufficient to allow hand-held short exposures at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The intense light from the fire hose is sufficient to allow hand-held short exposures at night. (Pho... [info]
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At first dawn some weak bluish color mix with the reds and yellows from the lava. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
At first dawn some weak bluish color mix with the reds and yellows from the lava. (Photo: Tom Pfeiff... [info]
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Falling bombs and the bright lava hose behind to the right. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Falling bombs and the bright lava hose behind to the right. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Morning explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Morning explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Morning explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Morning explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A dense mass of billions of particles, water and steam is thrown up half way the height of the cliff. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A dense mass of billions of particles, water and steam is thrown up half way the height of the cliff... [info]
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Falling lava fragments, many still glowing. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Falling lava fragments, many still glowing. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Bluish light of dawn and glowing lava fragments. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bluish light of dawn and glowing lava fragments. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Steam trails shooting seawards into the air. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Steam trails shooting seawards into the air. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Dense explosion with two pulses. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dense explosion with two pulses. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Bluish and pink steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bluish and pink steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Lava bomb trails at dawn. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava bomb trails at dawn. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Landwards directed explosion (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Landwards directed explosion (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Small chaotic explosions with part of the fire hose. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Small chaotic explosions with part of the fire hose. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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3 explosions starting at the contact of the fire hose with the sea. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
3 explosions starting at the contact of the fire hose with the sea. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Dark fragments falling back to the sea (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dark fragments falling back to the sea (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Moderate explosion (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Moderate explosion (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Bouquet of several smaller individual jets of lava fragments and steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bouquet of several smaller individual jets of lava fragments and steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A stronger eruption generates the short-lived shape of feathers of a fiery bird. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A stronger eruption generates the short-lived shape of feathers of a fiery bird. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffe... [info]
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Bizarrely shaped glowing lava bombs are traveling ahead of their steam trails. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bizarrely shaped glowing lava bombs are traveling ahead of their steam trails. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Asymmetric explosion leaving from the base f the fire hose. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Asymmetric explosion leaving from the base f the fire hose. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Trio of colors: purple, red and yellow (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Trio of colors: purple, red and yellow (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Falling lava in front of white and orange steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Falling lava in front of white and orange steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Explosion emerging from the steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Explosion emerging from the steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Pulses of small explosions towards the side. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Pulses of small explosions towards the side. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Pink steam and falling bombs. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Pink steam and falling bombs. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Beginning of a stronger explosion, producing a very dense mass of water, lava and steam. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Beginning of a stronger explosion, producing a very dense mass of water, lava and steam. (Photo: Tom... [info]
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Lava falling back a second later. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava falling back a second later. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Another second later, another explosion starts... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Another second later, another explosion starts... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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...producing a beautiful chaos of motion and colors. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
...producing a beautiful chaos of motion and colors. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The column of ejected lava rises majestically for a moment. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The column of ejected lava rises majestically for a moment. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View onto the steaming ocean surface. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View onto the steaming ocean surface. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Lava bombs falling towards the sea. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava bombs falling towards the sea. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Dense steam hides the water surface most of the time. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dense steam hides the water surface most of the time. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Rain of wet lava (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Rain of wet lava (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Explosion in the morning (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Explosion in the morning (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Intense glow from the fire hose somewhere behind the steam in the right. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Intense glow from the fire hose somewhere behind the steam in the right. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Falling lava pieces. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Falling lava pieces. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Moments before landing in the sea (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Moments before landing in the sea (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Pink steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Pink steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Steam trails about to touch the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Steam trails about to touch the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Abstract patters of radiating lines of ever-changing shape and color. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Abstract patters of radiating lines of ever-changing shape and color. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A stronger littoral explosion leaves hundreds of cock-tails behind the dark and sometimes still glowing lava bombs. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A stronger littoral explosion leaves hundreds of cock-tails behind the dark and sometimes still glow... [info]
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More rarely, the fragments are thrown to the right (towards the land onto the cliff or above). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
More rarely, the fragments are thrown to the right (towards the land onto the cliff or above). (Phot... [info]
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The center of the ejected mass appears darker. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The center of the ejected mass appears darker. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Zoom onto flying lava (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Zoom onto flying lava (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Larger fragments are usually still glowing red. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Larger fragments are usually still glowing red. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Explosion reminding of a flower (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Explosion reminding of a flower (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The flower develops into a star (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The flower develops into a star (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Its seeds followed by steam trails fall back into the ocean where they become black sand. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Its seeds followed by steam trails fall back into the ocean where they become black sand. (Photo: To... [info]
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A brief view of the fire hose behind feeding the constant explosive activity. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A brief view of the fire hose behind feeding the constant explosive activity. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Colors change gradually during the morning. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Colors change gradually during the morning. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Steam now appears white with bluish or pink and orange hues, depending on how much it is illuminated by the extremely bright fire hose. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Steam now appears white with bluish or pink and orange hues, depending on how much it is illuminated... [info]
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Dense explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dense explosion. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Lava falls into the sea; part of the western cliff is visible in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava falls into the sea; part of the western cliff is visible in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffe... [info]
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Explosion and glow of the fire hose shining through the steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Explosion and glow of the fire hose shining through the steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Pele throws a handful of new lava into the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Pele throws a handful of new lava into the water. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Steam meets steamy lava trails (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Steam meets steamy lava trails (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View of the beginning of an explosion in front of the lava hose which probably feeds the action with up to one or more cubic meters of liquid lava per second. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View of the beginning of an explosion in front of the lava hose which probably feeds the action with... [info]
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The reaction of the water is so strong that the steam generated by it blocks the view onto the lava. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The reaction of the water is so strong that the steam generated by it blocks the view onto the lava.... [info]
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Bluish and pink steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bluish and pink steam (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Dark, still dense masses of fragmented lava mixed with water and steam rise through the bluish steam chaos. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dark, still dense masses of fragmented lava mixed with water and steam rise through the bluish steam... [info]
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Pink steam during a calmer moment with only few lava fragments. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Pink steam during a calmer moment with only few lava fragments. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The majestic fire hose seems unreal. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The majestic fire hose seems unreal. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(41 Hits)
Free fall of barely cooled lava blocks and sand. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Free fall of barely cooled lava blocks and sand. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(46 Hits)
Dense steam and a myriad of black rocks falling from it. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dense steam and a myriad of black rocks falling from it. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(39 Hits)
Lava shooting into the air (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lava shooting into the air (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(43 Hits)
The powerful lava hose, about 2 meters wide, seen behind the explosion of water and rocks. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The powerful lava hose, about 2 meters wide, seen behind the explosion of water and rocks. (Photo: T... [info]
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It is morning and the white of the steam becomes stronger. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
It is morning and the white of the steam becomes stronger. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(39 Hits)
But the show goes on... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
But the show goes on... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
(39 Hits)
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