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Lava lake in Halemaumau's Overlook Crater puts on a show

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:28 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2014

Dramatic spattering has roiled the lava lake in the Overlook crater, inside Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, U.S. geologists report.

The spattering is normally at the lake margins, and the surface crust often flows towards, and is consumed at, the spattering source, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Wednesday.

The observatory released a video on its website showing large bubbles bursting at the surface drive the spattering activity, as shown occasionally by large spherical bursts.

At the middle east rift zone, the Puu Oo vent continued to feed the Kahaualea 2 lava flow, which appeared to be very weak, the scientists said. The activity is expected to increase over the next few days. 

Eleven earthquakes have been strong enough to be located beneath Kilauea Volcano in the past 24 hours: four on south flank faults, two within the Kaoiki Pali area, two beneath the summit caldera, and three within the southwest rift zone.

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Miami reported June 10 in Geology magazine that they have found a magma reservoir at a depth of 5 to 6 miles beneath Kilauea's upper east rift zone.

Researcher Guoqing Lin and colleagues used compression and shear wave velocities from earthquakes to pinpoint the magma chamber, which they said is "similar to those widely recognized beneath mid-ocean ridge volcanoes."

They said the reservoir could have supplied the magma that intruded into the deep section of the east rift zone and caused its rapid expansion following the 7.2-magnitude Kalapana earthquake in 1975.

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