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.