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New flows break out on Kilauea Volcano

  • COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    In this thermal image of the channelized lava flow, Puu Oo is at the top. The line of slightly lower temperatures down the center of the channel represents more intact (and cooler) crust, which is less disrupted than the lava near the channel margins.

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Four new lava flows continued to move slowly along Kilauea Volcano’s middle East Rift Zone on Saturday.

The flows appeared on Friday morning, breaking out on the northeast flank of Puu Oo cone in locations not believed to be related to either the Peace Day or Kahaualea 2 lava tubes, which have fed previous flows in the area.

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory contend that magma that had accumulated in a mostly horizontal layer about 1,640 feet below the Puu Oo crater floor broke out on Friday, causing the crater floor to subside slightly as the lava drained away. The observatory reported Saturday that the lava continues to feed flows on the northeast flank and lava ponds in at least two of the collapsed spatter cones on the crater floor.

The activity in the middle East Rift Zone may have affected the lava supply within the Kahaualea 2 lava tube, the observatory noted.

Cameras detected stationary glowing spots on breakouts at the north base of Puu Oo cone and wispy smoke plumes overnight. According to scientists, the flow is still hot but is far less active than it was before Friday.

At the summit, tiltmeters recorded minor fluctuations over a weak inflationary tilt, the lava lake fluctuated 30 to 35 meters below the floor of Halemaumau Crater, and gas emissions continued to be elevated.

The lake lies within a nearly cylindrical vent cavity within the east wall and floor of Halemaumau Crater.

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

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