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Lava entering ocean generates weak plumes of steam

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:36 a.m. HST, Dec 16, 2012

Lava from Kilauea’s middle east rift zone continued to flow today, moving along the coastal plain and entering the ocean near Kupapau.

The flow is a little more than a half-mile wide on the plain, scientists reported.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the ongoing ocean entry was marked by a “weak and variable” plume. The active lava delta has grown to approximately 165 feet in width.

Meanwhile, lava levels at Puu Oo remained high.

Geologists reported that the north rim of the northeast spatter cone collapsed at 11:30 a.m. Friday. The collapse was followed by a brief overflow that almost reached the north edge of the crater floor.  Two larger flows followed over the next several hours, at first advancing to the west before splitting and going north and south at the base of the west crater wall.

At the summit, the lava lake level fluctuated but generally remained high and stable below the inner ledge, the observatory reported. 

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