Patiently peering through the heavy fume that has shrouded Pu`u `O`o crater for the last two weeks, helicopter tour operators finally glimpsed a new pad of active lava on the crater floor on Monday morning, July 2. When HVO scientists arrived that afternoon, the eruption had resumed and was loudly jetting gas and spattering from a point below the location of the Beehive vent, flowing eastward, and ponding below the location of the Drainhole vent. The active lava is below these features because the crater floor dropped at least 100 m during the eruptive pause that ended Monday.
As of Wednesday morning, July 4, lava is filling the crater and forming a circulating lava pond that is sometimes visible in the Pu`u `O`o crater webcam. The pond appears to be fed from a source toward its west end, which is not directly visible to the webcam.
According to our geophysical instrument networks, Pu`u `O`o vent is no longer subsiding. Seismic and thermal energy outputs from the crater have increased slightly accompanying the return of lava, but are still well below levels that were common before June 17 when the intrusion/eruption event sequence started.
View of a circulating lava pond filling the collapsed floor of
Pu`u `O`o crater, as captured by the webcam at 4:42 am July 4, 2007.
Lava returned to Pu`u `O`o crater after the 1997 intrusion and eruption at Napau Crater and the 1999 intrusion in the Upper East Rift Zone after eruptive pauses lasting 23 and 11 days, respectively.
Learn more about Kilauea's east rift zone: