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Lava erupts in south end of Puu Oo Crater

  • COURTESY USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    A Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist approaches one of the small vents in Puu Oo Crater to obtain a spatter sample on May 9.

  • COURTESY USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    Scattered breakouts persist northeast of Puu Oo, with no significant advancement over the past month. The farthest active breakouts were 3.6 miles from the vent on Puu Oo, which can be seen on the skyline in the upper portion of this May 9 photo. Several small breakouts were burning vegetation along the north margin of the flow, at the forest boundary.

  • COURTESY USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    The small lava pond in the western portion of Puu Oo Crater was at a higher level on May 9, and closer to the pit rim. A disruption in the pond created increased spattering and agitation in the 80 foot diameter pond.

  • COURTESY USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    This May 9 photo shows the spattering and agitation in the small lava pond in Puu Oo vent on May 9.

Lava is erupting from a spatter cone in Puu Oo Crater as the western side of the crater has been rising, geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a daily update today.

The eruptive activity, from a spatter cone in the south end of the crater, started at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and has “waxed and waned” since then, continuing this morning.

The “gradual uplift” of the crater floor began earlier this week.

Scientists said the crater was in an inflationary period, but has switched to deflationary when the eruption began.

Meanwhile, the observatory posted new photos of the Puu Oo Crater eruption that show active lava spattering in a lava lake and a lava flow about 3.6 miles from the crater.

The photos, taken Monday, show a particularly active lava pond in the western end of the crater. The lava lake level was as high as geologists have seen it compared to previous visits and scientists observed increased spattering and agitation.

The pond is about 80 feet in diameter.

On Monday, scientists observed a small lava flow in the northwest section of the crater floor. Webcam images also showed small, brief lava flows in the southwestern area of the crater.

A lava breakout about 3.6 miles northeast of Puu Oo is continuing. The flow is burning some vegetation at its edges, but is not near any populated areas and is not threatening any communities.

The lava lake at Halemaumau Crater rose to 85 feet below the crater floor on Tuesday afternoon, after dropping to 125 feet below the rim last week.

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