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Pu`u `O`o - Kupaianaha Eruption of Kilauea Volcano

1995-1998, Collapse claims west flank of Pu`u `O`o cone

West flank of Pu`u`O`o Collapse pits develop on the west flank of Pu`u`O`o cone.
Lava fissure in Napau Crater, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i Lava fissure erupts in and northeast of Napau Crater on January 30, 1997, during episode 54. Five closely spaced fissures were active during the 22-hour episode.
Aerial view of new fissure in Napau Crater uprift of Pu`u`O`, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i Fume rises from eruptive fissures within and just outside Napau Crater during episode 54. Pu`u `O`o cone is visible at top of photograph.
Aerial view of west flank of Pu`u`O`o, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i Just before the fissures of episode 54 erupted, the lava pond in Pu`u` `O`o drained as magma was diverted to the area beneath Napau Crater. The west rim of Pu`u `O`o collapsed to form a notch 150-200 m wide and 75-100 m deep.
Changing views of Pu`u` O`o
West flank of Pu`u `O`o cone before significant collapse events
June 1992
West flank of Pu`u `O`o cone after collapse event in January 1997
August 1997
West flank of Pu`u `O`o cone in October 1999
October 1999
Views looking eastward show changes to the west flank of Pu`u `O`o resulting from (1) growth of a shield at the base of the cone; and (2) several collapses on the cone and shield from 1995 to 1999. The most dramatic collapse occurred in late January 1997, when magma withdrew from beneath Pu`u `O`o to feed a fissure in nearby Napau Crater during eruptive episode 54.
South flank of Pu`u`O`o cone before collapse events in January 1997
March 1994
South flank of Pu`u`O`o cone after many collapse events
June 1997
Views looking northward show the results of the collapse of the Pu`u `O`o summit and west flank. The south flank of the cone changed significantly beginning in late 1997, when it collapsed to form the pit, Puka Nui (see below).
Aerial view of the south side of Pu`u `O`o vent, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i Lava erupted outside Pu`u `O`o beginning on March 28, 1997, from a small pit at the base of the southwest flank (arrow); this episode 55 vent quickly built a small cone (images below). A few weeks later, another vent became active (circle) and fed a series of short flows for about 3 weeks.
Spatter ejects from cone (episode 55 cone) at base of Pu`u`O`o, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i This spatter cone marks the site of the episode 55 vent, which became active on March 28, 1997. Other spatter cones were built in this area as the vent location changed through early June.
Spatter ejects from cone (episode 55 cone) at base of Pu`u`O`o, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
New vent near earlier spatter cones sends lava down flank of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i A vigorous new vent began erupting on June 4, 1997, slightly northwest of the original episode 55 cone and the May 12 cone. This new vent eventually built a cone that covered the old episode 55 cone.
Aerial view of Pu`u`O`o and lava overflows Lava overflowed the crater of Pu`u `O`o several times between June 16 and October 18, 1997, coating both the west and northeast (lower left) flanks of the cone with pahoehoe. Note active vent in west end of crater.
Aerial view of Puka Nui crater on south side of Pu`u `O`o vent, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i A large new pit, named Puka Nui ("large hole" in Hawaiian), developed on the south flank of Pu`u `O`o in late 1997 (top) and enlarged through 1998 (bottom). By the end of 1999, Puka Nui had nearly intersected the south  rim of Pu`u `O`o.
Aerial view of Puka Nui crater on south side of Pu`u `O`o vent, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
Aerial view of lava breakout from tube on Pulama pali, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i During a temporary pause in the supply of magma to Pu`u `O`o on May 19-20, 1998, lava drained out of the tube system and stopped flowing into the ocean at the Waha`ula and Kamokuna entry points. As lava re-entered the tube system on the evening of May 20, several breakouts occurred along the length of the tube.
View of pahoehoe flow moving through `oh`ia forest, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
View into skylight of active lava tube on coastal plain of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i View into skylight shows lava cascading down a steep slope.
Aerial view of new lava flow on south coast of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i The shiny surface of new pahoehoe marks the pathway of lava that reached the sea a few weeks after a 2-3 day eruptive pause in August 1998.

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Updated: 7 June 2000