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New photos show lava lakes at Halemaumau and Puu Oo craters

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:55 p.m. HST, May 15, 2012

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released new photos of the lava lakes at Halemaumau crater and the Puu Oo vent. Scientists said the lava lake level at the Halemaumau Crater rose to about 220 feet below the crater floor Monday and that lava spattered onto a ledge above the lake.

Scientists said the lava level has been relatively high since Sunday. Small amounts of ash and lava spatter were lifted out of the vent by the gas plume and deposited on nearby surfaces.

Scientists also released a photo of the lava pond at Puu Oo, taken on Friday. The pond feeds into tubes that send the lava through the Royal Gardens subdivision and over the pali to the coastal plain.

The flows advanced a little, but have still not reached the ocean.

Visitors to the Kalapana Viewing area reported seeing lava breakouts on the pali overnight.

Last week, observatory scientists released a video of the lava activity in Halemaumau Crater showing lava splattering more than 30 feet into the air. The views of the lava are sometimes obscured by the gas plume rising out of the vent. At night, the glow from the vent can be seen reflected in the plume.

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