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Scientists study possible new lava pond at Puu Oo

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 16 feet below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below. Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right.

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest.

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest.

Volcano scientists are watching what appears to be a new “active lava pond” at Puu Oo crater.

Web cameras have been showing what scientists described as a “incandescent, fuming source” in an area of old lava tubes on the east rim of the crater since early this month.

Geologists flew over the site and visited it on the ground Thursday and released photos today of the new vent and a new lava flow from Puu Oo.

“Aerial views into the opening suggest lava is welling up from below and not ‘flowing’ like lava in a tube (there is no apparent lava reappearing downslope),” scientists said on the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website. “Thus, our current interpretation is that this is a new vent that happened to open into the area of this abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface.”

Geologists expect the opening around the new vent to widen as the surface lava crust collapses.

Scientists hope to learn more about the new activity as they are able to see more of the lava pond and could revise their interpretation of the vent.

Meanwhile, a lava breakout that began as a rupture from a tube supplying the June 27th flow has advanced slowly to the northeast and reached a forest area, where it is burning through vegetation.

The flow is about 1.9 miles from Puu Oo and is not threatening any populated areas.

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