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Thermal imaging aids in tracking flows from Kilauea

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:27 p.m. HST, Dec 8, 2013

Kilauea Volcano's Kahaualea 2 lava flow continues to burn through forest, sending up plumes of smoke, but scientists can see more activity through thermal imaging.

The flow, fed by the northeast spatter cone in the Puu Oo vent, extends 4.5 miles to the north but is most active about 3 miles northeast of Puu Oo.

Between Nov. 27 and Friday, the flow advanced 920 feet, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

A thermal image taken Friday shows the main area of activity northeast of Puu Oo, a smaller breakout north of Puu Oo, and two lava tubes.

A fissure eruption on the upper east flank of Puu Oo on Sept. 21, 2011, fed what became known as the Peace Day flow, which advanced southeast through the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision to the ocean inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in early December 2011. The flows stalled and re-entered the ocean starting on Nov. 24, 2012, until activity started to decline and the ocean entry stopped in Aug. 20.

The flow was dead by early November.

The Kahaualea flow, which started at the northeast edge of the Puu Oo crater floor in mid-January, was dead by late April, but a new flow, Kahaualea 2, became active in the same area in early May.

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