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Kilauea lava continues spectacular ocean entry

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    Several birds take a closer view of the ocean entry. Narrow streams of lava were battered by the surf as they poured into the water in this July 19 photo.

The Peace Day lava flow southeast of the Puu Oo cone at Kilauea Volcano continued to feed a spectacular ocean entry at Kupapau, producing a massive gas plume just outside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boundary, according to a report by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

While most of the lava flow traveled toward the ocean via a series of tubes, scattered breakouts were also detected midway across the coastal plain. Webcam images confirmed that previous ocean entry was no longer active.

The flow began Sept. 21, 2011, coincidentally designated Peace Day by the United Nations.

Overall, Kilauea’s ongoing eruption continued with no significant changes, the observatory reported.

At the summit, tiltmeters recorded the latest inflationary tilt on Friday evening. At the lower level of the lava lake, pieces of the cavity wall came loose and fell into the lake. Two larger pieces of veneer temporarily depressed the lava lake level, delaying the normal deflation-inflation cycle by more than an hour.

Meanwhile, the tiltmeter at Puu Oo recorded minor fluctuations over what was termed a rain-induced increase.

The northeast spatter cone continued to feed the Kahaualea 2 lava flow north of Puu Oo. The most distant front of the flow burned forest at the north edge of an earlier flow field at Puu Oo. Webcam images have shown few scattered breakout lately, with most activity concentrated at just a few locations. According to the observatory, this indicates that either “robust” lava tubes have formed within the flow or the amount of lava supplied to the flow has diminished.

Kilauea has been erupting continuously since Jan. 3, 1983.

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