Volcanic activity slows in Puna and at Kilauea summit
  • Monday, November 19, 2018
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Volcanic activity slows in Puna and at Kilauea summit

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    The inner walls of the cone at fissure 8 can been seen in this photo taken today as well with a dark crust on the surface of the spillway as the lava in it cools.

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    Glowing lava remained visible this morning in the channel from fissure 8 west of Kapoho Crater, which is partially visible in the upper left. The laze plume from the ocean entry appears in the distance. Geologists said the glowing lava appeared to be the result of lava draining from upslope rather than additional lava entering the channel.

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    This photo taken today shows the view of fissure 8, which has shown decreased activity in the past few days.

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    The compilation shows a comparison between Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea’s summit on April 13, 2018 on the left and the crater on July 28, 2018 after collapse events at the crater.

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    A lighter laze plume is seen in this aerial photo of Isaac Hale Beach Park and the lava ocean entry this morning.

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Activity at Kilauea Volcano’s summit and lower East Rift Zone has slowed down recently, and scientists are working to determine the significance of the diminished activity, the U.S. Geological Survey said today.

“It is common for eruptions to wax and wane or pause completely,” the USGS said in its afternoon update. “A return to high levels of lava discharge or new outbreaks in the area of active fissures could occur at any time.”

The USGS said the significance of the change in activity is not yet clear and warned that hazardous conditions remain in the area.

An overflight crew this morning noted a “weak to moderately active bubbling lava lake” in fissure 8’s cone, along with a weak gas plume and a crusted-over lava channel, the USGS said.

Also this morning, ground crews confirmed the channel from fissure 8 was empty up to the vicinity of Kapoho Crater, where a short section of active lava was present in a channel. USGS geologists said the glowing lava in the channel near Kapoho appeared to be the result of draining from upslope, rather than new lava entering the channel.

No discernible movement was seen, the USGS said.

Lava was still oozing out in small amounts near the coast at Kapoho Bay and the Ahalanui lobes, but the laze plume was “greatly diminished,” the USGS said.

Near Pohoiki Bay boat ramp, lava was still active, but hadn’t made any significant movement toward it.

In addition, Kilauea’s summit remained quiet since a collapse event about noon Saturday.

The USGS called it a “significant departure” from earthquake and deformation patterns of the past several months.

Deformation, as far as scientists can measure, has virtually stopped.

The changes at the summit and lower East Rift Zone together suggest the rate of magma leaving the summit to feed the lower East Rift Zone has slowed, the USGS said.

“How long this condition will persist is unknown,” the USGS said. “It is possible that outflow will pick up again, resulting in renewed summit area deflation leading to another collapse event and renewed eruption vigor on the LERZ.”

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