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Lava erupting from vents east of Pu`u `O`o

 View from the southwest, with the collapse pits of Puka Nui (left) and MLK (right) in the foreground. Dramatic changes in the long-lived Pu`u `O`o - Kupaianaha have occurred in the past two months. The crater and west side of Pu`u `O`o collapsed, partially refilled with lava, then collapsed again as new vents erupted first uprift then downrift of the cone on June 19 and July 21. Lava is now erupting from the lower end of the July 21 fissure located at the base of the Kupaianaha shield, which was active between 1986 and 1992.

The lava is feeding flows that are moving northeast from the vents across relatively flat ground. The flow is spreading slowly on the north side of the east rift zone, covering lava flows erupted from Pu`u `O`o between 1983 and 1986 and moving into patches of rainforest. It traveled nearly 6 km between July 27 and August 13 before stalling and starting another parallel flow.

 This view, also looking west, shows the fissure D lava channel. The channel is about 100 meters across at the bottom of the photo.
The lava flow from fissure D has traveled about 3.5 km to the northeast from the fissure. The terminus of the flow is shown here, while the source of the flow is the fuming area in the distance below Pu‘u ‘O‘o. The flow is crossing old ‘a‘a flows erupted from Pu‘u ‘O‘o from 1983 to 1986.
Left. This view, looking west, shows the fissure D lava channel. The channel is about 100 meters across at the bottom of the photo. Right. The lava flow from fissure D has traveled about 3.5 km to the northeast from the fissure. The terminus of the flow is shown here, while the source of the flow is the fuming area in the distance below Pu‘u ‘O‘o. The flow is crossing old ‘a‘a flows erupted from Pu‘u ‘O‘o from 1983 to 1986.

Incandescence but not lava, has been observed in Pu`u `O`o since July 20. Lava was last seen entering the ocean on June 20.

The south flank has also been active with two earthquakes - a magnitude-5.4 on August 13 and a magnitude 4.4 on August 15. The larger quake probably caused the nearly complete collapse of the inacive East Lae`apuki bench on the same night. [See August 16, 2007 Volcano Watch, Kilauea's south flank earthquakes more common than hurricanes.]

View of the East Lae`apuki bench on May 15, 2007, shortly after a small chunk of the bench had collapsed. This photo also shows the shatter ring that had developed just behind the sea cliff.
View of the East Lae`apuki bench on August 17, 2007. Note the shatter ring. The bench must have collapsed some time Monday night because National Park Service personnel reported it Monday afternoon but a helicopter tour pilot reported it missing Tuesday morning. The collapse could have been caused either by the M5.4 earthquake Monday evening, the high surf in advance of hurricane Flossie, or both.
Left. View of the East Lae`apuki bench on May 15, 2007, shortly after a small chunk of the bench had collapsed. This photo also shows the shatter ring that had developed just behind the sea cliff. Right. View of the East Lae`apuki bench on August 17, 2007. Note the shatter ring. The bench must have collapsed some time Monday night because National Park Service personnel reported it Monday afternoon but a helicopter tour pilot reported it missing Tuesday morning. The collapse could have been caused either by the M5.4 earthquake Monday evening, the high surf in advance of hurricane Flossie, or both.

The erupting vents are located very near a fissure that erupted for about 3 weeks in November 1992 and at the base of Kupaianaha shield that erupted continuously for 5.5 years, 1982-1992. There is no way to know how long the July 21 vents will remain active.

HVO scientists are closely monitoring the new vents and active flows moving to the northeast. Photographs of the activity and maps of the flow are updated several times a week, and daily "updates" of Kilauea's latest activity are released every morning.

For more information about the recent activity, see:

Learn more about Kilauea's east rift zone:

   
Archive of previous feature stories

  A beautiful sunrise
Photograph by M. Sako
March 29, 2006

Breath-taking Sunrises

Top: A beautiful sunrise of the mountainside from Hualalai volcano.

Bottom: Spectacular sunrise overlooking Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Photo taken from the top of Hualalai volcano.

Archive of Featured Photographs

  Spectacular sunrise overlooking Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.  Photo taken from the top of Hualalai volcano.
Photograph by M. Sako
March 29, 2006

 

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