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January 19, 2016 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; clear views in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest active lava today at 5.9 km (3.7 miles) distance from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Much of the activity is at or near the forest boundary, creating numerous areas of burning. This view looks southwest, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō visible in the upper left portion of the image.

Left: A closer view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, just above the center point of the photograph. View is towards the southwest. In the foreground, the circular lava pond that was active in July 2014 is visible. The lava tube feeding the active flows on the June 27th lava flow is evident by the line of white fume sources extending off the right side of the photograph. Right: Viewing conditions into Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater were exceptional today, providing clear views of the crater floor. This view is towards the northwest. The inner, deeper crater formed in mid-2014 following the opening of the June 27th vent, and occasional small flows on the crater floor are evident by their dark color. The smaller, circular pit in the west portion of the crater has contained a small, active lava pond in recent months. Very little of the original cone, formed in the early part of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption in the mid-1980s, remains visible on the surface. The tan colored area in the foreground, and the brown sections of the crater rim in the upper part of the photograph, are the original portions of the cone and consist of cinder and scoria.

Left: This photograph was taken from the western pit at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and shows the small lava pond (roughly 20 m in diameter) contained within the pit. Right: Incandescence was visible in the small pit that formed recently on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Colorful sulfur deposits have formed recently around one of the cracks on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Left: A view of the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater, with the small circular pit that contains the active lava pond. HVO's cameras are on the rim at the right side of the photograph. Right: A hornito has recently formed over the lava tube on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, at the spot of the breakout that occurred on November 25.

An HVO geologist collects spatter deposited around the base of the hornito for geochemical analysis.

January 8, 2016 — Kīlauea


Early morning explosive event at Kīlauea summit lava lake

A rockfall on the east rim of the summit vent within Kīlauea Volcano's Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered a small explosive event at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. Explosive events like this occur more frequently when the lava lake level is relatively high, as it has been this past week—around 30-35 m (100-115 ft) below the vent rim. Rocks in the vent wall expand as they are heated by the high temperature of the lava lake and become unstable. Sections of these unstable rocks can then collapse into the lava lake. This Quicktime movie shows today's rockfall as seen from HVO and Jaggar Museum.

When large rockfalls impact the lava lake, they trigger explosive events that propel volcanic rock fragments (tephra) upward. This morning's event was vigorous enough to hurl incandescent fragments onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, about 110 m (360 ft) above the lava lake surface. This Quicktime movie shows some of these fragments flying toward the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam that is perched on the rim of the crater. Rockfalls and subsequent explosive events occur with no warning, and the resulting fragments of hot lava and rocky debris thrown onto the crater rim pose a significant hazard in this area.

Left: The January 8, 2016, rockfall and subsequent explosive event littered the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with fragments of molten lava. In this image, you can see what remains of the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook wooden fence, which has been repeatedly been bombarded by spatter and rock fragments since 2008. The blue bucket attached to the fence is one of HVO's tephra collectors so that lava fragments and rocky debris ejected from the summit vent can be quantified and analyzed. Right: The rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater was covered in a nearly continuous blanket of tephra following today's early morning rockfall and subsequent explosive event. Tephra is the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, and can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter. Two backpacks (in background), which belong to HVO scientists who briefly entered the area to collect tephra samples for laboratory analyses, provide scale for the fragments hurled onto the crater rim this morning.

The 10 cm (4-inch) pocket knife in this image provides scale for one of the larger fragments of molten lava that was thrown onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. So much spatter was ejected to the crater rim this morning that it is hard to discern one lava fragment from another.

Coolest Pele's Tear ever!

This photo shows a one-of-a-kind, completely hollow Pele's tear about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) long. It was found on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu and was ejected in association with this morning's explosive event, probably during the aftermath when the lake surface was spattering vigorously.

January 7, 2016 — Kīlauea


Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake

Left: In recent days, the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has been at a relatively high level. This view, looking roughly north-northeast, shows typical behavior, with lava rising into the lake at the distant end opposite the photographer, and sinking all along the base of the crater wall in the foreground and at right. Within this zone of subduction is a site of persistent spattering at the southeast edge of the lava lake, visible at the right edge of the photograph. On the morning of January 7 when this photo was taken, the lake was about 35 m or 114 ft below the rim. Right: Zoomed-in view of the spattering at the southeast corner of the lava lake. The vent wall is overhung in this area.

January 4, 2016 — Kīlauea


Another small explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake

On January 4, a rockfall within the Overlook vent at the summit of Kīlauea generated another small explosive event at 3:18 a.m., HST. In this image, captured by a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam, the dusty gas plume can be seen rising from the vent after rocks impacted the lava lake. Incandescence from molten lava exposed by the disrupted lava lake surface lit up the vent wall and the night sky above Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

January 2, 2016 — Kīlauea


Rockfall triggers small explosive event in Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake

Around 2:17 p.m., HST, on January 2, a rockfall from the east rim of the Overlook vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea impacted the lava lake, generating a small explosive event captured by HVO webcams. This Quicktime movie shows the rockfall as seen from HVO and Jaggar Museum.

This Quicktime movie shows the same rockfall as captured by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam perched on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Note the fragments of molten lava flying toward the camera—just one of the hazards that led to the closure of this area.

Left: In this photo of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake, the light-colored rock in the vent wall to the left of the spattering lava shows were a rockfall occurred on January 2. The shadow of the gas plume appears as a brown streak perpendicular to the dark-colored lava on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. HVO and Jaggar Museum are visible on top of the caldera wall (upper left). Right: Fragments of molten lava were thrown on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the January 2 explosive event. This close-up shows the dust and small rock particles that adhered to the surface of these fragments as they were thrown upward through the ashy plume.

December 30, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; some activity at forest boundary

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest activity about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Some of these breakouts are active along the northern boundary of the flow field, and are burning several small patches of forest - creating the smoke plumes visible near the center of the photograph.

Left: The breakout that began in late November continues to feed lava to the northern boundary of the flow field via a new lava tube. The trace of this new tube is easily visible in the thermal images. This view looks northeast, and the breakouts along the forest boundary are visible near the top edge of the photograph. Right: An HVO geologist collects a molten lava sample for chemical analysis, scooping up a bit with the rock hammer to then drop in the water bucket to quench it. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the distance.

A clear day at Kīlauea's summit

This view shows the north rim of Kīlauea Caldera, with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum perched at the rim for ideal views of summit activity. Mauna Kea is in the distance, partially obscured by clouds, and Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone extends off the left edge of the photo.

The sun angle was ideal this morning to show the complex texture on the surface of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea's summit. Spattering was active in the southeast portion of the lake. For scale, the lake is about 230 meters or 755 feet across.

December 17, 2015 — Kīlauea


November 25 breakout advances; New vent opens on northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest. While the front of the flow is about 3 km (1.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, it has a long way to go to catch up to the surface flows that have persisted for the last several weeks about 3 km (1.9 miles) farther to the northeast.

A new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō during the first week of December. This is the incandescent, fuming trio of holes just below and to the left of center in the accompanying image. While this spot happens to coincide with the trend of a tube that was last active in early 2014, 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). 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. Our interpretation may change, however, as our view into the vent improves, assuming that the opening continues to widen.

Left: This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below. Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right. Right: A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 5 m (16 ft) below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.

December 3, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts continue northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; November 25 breakout remains active

Scattered breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and the farthest reach of active breakouts today was 5.9 km (3.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A minor change on the flow field occurred last week, with a breakout from the tube on November 25 that created a small flow that remains active today. This November 25 breakout is easily visible as the lighter colored area extending to the bottom of the photo. The breakout point is visible by the thick fume on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Left: A closer look at the breakout point where lava emerged from the tube on November 25. A few skylights provide views of the lava in the new lava tube that formed over the past week on this flow. Right: A very close view of the active pāhoehoe toes on the margin of the November 25 breakout. A fresh lava sample was collected from this spot with a rock hammer today. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the distance.

All that remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa can be seen in this photograph, with only the peaks of the formerly prominent forested cinder cone visible. This cone has been buried by lava from the June 27th flow over the past year. In the upper left a small hornito can be seen.

Left: A fascinating cross section of a hornito was revealed recently, when a partial collapse provided a window into a portion of an abandoned lava tube. The void space behind the geologist was filled with lava at some point, with lava and gas forced through the narrow crack in the center of the photograph. This ejected bits of spatter, which solidified around the opening and built a tall hornito. Right: A few small vents are active in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. These erupted a small flow onto the crater floor recently.

November 12, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Though heavy rains prevented a detailed survey today, there was little change in activity observed on today's overflight. As with previous weeks, most breakouts are active within the existing boundaries of the June 27th lava flow, with no major expansion of the flow margins. This photo shows a typical breakout, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the distance.

October 28, 2015 — Kīlauea


Halemaʻumaʻu during October 16 lightning storm

Left: A time-lapse camera located in HVO's observation tower captured these interesting images of Halemaʻumaʻu during an intense lightning storm at Kīlauea's summit on October 16. Image captured at 11:36 PM. Right: Image captured at 11:43 PM.

October 23, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This photo looks west towards the upper East Rift Zone of Kīlauea. The fume-filled crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the foreground, and the vent for the June 27th lava flow is just out of view of the lower right corner of the photo. Mauna Loa is visible in the upper right.

A hornito was active in the upper portion of the June 27th flow, with hissing and jetting sounds coming from a small opening at the top. The hornito here was about 2.5 m (8 feet) tall. A hornito is formed by gas and lava forced through a small opening in the roof of a lava tube. One side of the hornito has a small solidified flow of lava that oozed from the top, with the remainder consisting of spatter and Pele's hair.

Left: An HVO geologist collects a sample of active lava for chemical analysis. The lava is quenched with water in the metal bucket. Right: A small channel feeds a lobe of pāhoehoe lava on the eastern margin of the June 27th flow. Scattered breakouts like these were active on the flow field today, with the farthest active lava about 6.4 km (4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

October 14, 2015 — Kīlauea


Several small collapses as summit lava lake slowly drops

Summit deflation over the past day was associated with the summit lava lake level slowly dropping. When this happens, collapses commonly occur within the Overlook crater. Solidified lava, attached to the Overlook crater walls, collapsed into the lake on several occasions today, triggering small dust plumes and agitation of the lake surface.

September 28, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The June 27th lava flow remains active with scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The farthest active breakout today was about 6.5 km (4 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photograph shows activity along the northern flow boundary, where breakouts continue to burn vegetation.

Left: This view looks west towards Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which can be seen in the upper left. The most distant active breakouts today were located near the center of the photograph, at a spot roughly 6.5 km (4 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Right: HVO geologists hike through thick fume and fog to reach the lava pond in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater.

A lava pond has been active in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater for several months.

This Quicktime video shows lava sample collection from the perspective of an HVO geologist.

No major changes in the lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

Left: This wide view shows the lava lake active within the Overlook crater, which is set within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. There have been no major changes in the lake in recent weeks. This morning the lava lake was roughly 60 meters (200 feet) below the rim of the Overlook crater. The dark region surrounding the Overlook crater is lava that spilled out onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in April and May of this year, when the lake level was much higher. Right: A closer look at the lava lake in the Overlook crater.

September 11, 2015 — Kīlauea


There has been no significant change on the flow field northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and some of the active flows continue to creep into the forest along the north edge of the flow field, as seen here, looking roughly northwest. Activity has been remarkably stable and consistent, with no overall advancement of the flows, for the last several weeks.

Left: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, looking northwest. The floor of the crater was paved in late August by lava that erupted from a vent at the northeast edge of the crater, which is the heavily fuming area to the right. There are also vents at the southeast edge of the crater (note the incandescent vent just left of center) and at the northwest edge (hidden by fume just above center). A western pit, outside the left edge of the crater (hard to see in this photo), hosts a small sluggish lava pond. The vent supplying the June 27th lava flow is on the flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō beyond the right edge of the photo. Right: Photo of Puʻu ʻŌʻō west of the crater, looking north-northwest. The west edge of the crater is to the right. The western pit, with the lava pond, is just above and left of center. Notice the vaguely arcuate line of fume that wraps from the south edge of the crater, around the western pit, and back to the northwest edge of the crater in the background. This fuming arc corresponds closely to the rim of the crater that was present in 2011. The surface of the crescent-shaped area bounded by this arc is sulfur stained and, when on the ground there, is found to be very hot, suggesting that there may be pockets of magma below the ground there. In time, other pits may form in this area, or the western pit may continue to widen, and eventually the entire crescent-shaped area could collapse and become part of the crater again.

August 28, 2015 — Kīlauea


New lava flows at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Left: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, looking south. The floor of the crater was resurfaced yesterday (August 27) by lava flows erupting from a vent at the northeast edge of the crater (fuming area to the left). Right: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō from the south side, looking north. The current crater in Puʻu ʻŌʻō is only about half the diameter of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's previous crater, which is defined by the rim of the tephra cone remnants in the foreground and background. That older crater's western edge extended to about the left edge of the photograph. The current crater is 25–30 m (~80–100 ft) deep.

Left: A tiny lava pond, about 10 m (33 ft) across, was visible within a vent near the south edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's crater. Can you spot it? It's near the center of the photograph. Right: Yesterday's lava flows in Puʻu ʻŌʻō erupted from a vent at the northeast edge of the crater and added a new layer to the crater floor. This photograph looks northeast across the relatively smooth crater floor toward the vent that erupted, which is a spatter cone that appears as a faintly visible mound in the fume in the background.

Left: A piece of the new flow on the crater floor was collected for chemical analysis. Can you spot the USGS geologist collecting the sample? He is just below the center of the photograph. The small lava pond is just above center, partly hidden by a small spatter mound. Right: This photo is from within the crater, looking back at the USGS scientist who took the adjacent photo.

Left: USGS scientists make observations from the edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's current crater. Puʻu ʻŌʻō's high point – the northwestern remnant of the original cone that formed in the 1980's – is in the background. This higher ground provides a good perch for some of HVO's webcams, near upper right. Right: A large breakout from the lava tube on the north side of Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday (August 27) formed a large channelized flow, but it did not last long. The activity died in the evening, the same day, and traveled only about 500 m (about 550 yards). The recent flow is the lighter colored lava mostly left of center in the photograph, with its most distant tip approaching lower right. The photograph looks south toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

August 4, 2015 — Kīlauea


High view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; West pit in Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Left: High aerial view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking south-southwest. The current crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is about 280 m (~920 ft) long and 230 m (~755 ft) wide, with a depth of about 25 m (~82 ft). To the west of the crater is another pit 49 m (~161 ft) across that contains a small lava pond. Right: The pit west of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, shown here, is overhung on most sides and may continue to widen with time. The lava pond inside is relatively placid, appearing as a black surface, usually with a few tiny spattering areas along the edge.

View of the active flow field; Scientist collects lava sample

Left: Lava flows are scattered across a broad area extending from about 3 to 8 km (2–5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The active flows start just above the horizontal mid-line of the photo, but cannot be picked out easily within the broader inactive flow field due to their distance away in this photo. The most distant active lava is burning forest, and the bluish smoke from this can be seen in a few areas in the distance, partly shrouded by clouds. Right: An HVO scientist collects a molten lava sample using a rock hammer. Molten lava on the flow field for the last several months has had a temperature usually around 1,140 ēC, or just under 2,100 ēF, when collected and can blister exposed skin when this close.

July 27, 2015 — Kīlauea


Puʻu ʻŌʻō thermal camera viewing geometry

Views into Puʻu ʻŌʻō's current crater are often hampered by fume. To overcome this, HVO uses thermal cameras that detect heat and are better able to 'see' through the fume. This image mosaic compares the Puʻu ʻŌʻō thermal webcamera's view with an oblique aerial photograph to show what the thermal camera is looking at. The thermal webcamera is looking approximately toward the east and commonly shows several hot spots, which are outgassing vents. Three such hot vents were in view of the thermal camera on July 19, the date that the thermal camera captured the image on the left. The arrowed letters show how those vents match up between the thermal image and the aerial photograph. The thermal camera does not have a view of a pit which formed west of the current crater in late March and which contains a small lava pond.

July 23, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, no recent overall advancement

Breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but on today's overflight we observed a decrease in overall activity. In particular, breakouts that had been active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō on previous days, around Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, were inactive today. The active breakouts began about 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and reached nearly 8 km (5 miles). This farthest distance has not changed significantly in recent weeks.

This photograph looks west along the East Rift Zone, towards Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Kīlauea's summit. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the horizon, on the left side of the image. The farthest active lava today was near the smokey area in the left side of the image. Kīlauea's summit plume can be seen in the distance in the upper right portion of the photograph.

Left: A closer look at the north margin of the June 27th lava flow, where breakouts are active at the forest boundary. Right: Breakouts have further buried Puʻu Kahaualeʻa in recent weeks. The cone was originally covered in thick vegetation, but today only a single dead tree stands on the remnants of the cone rim.

An HVO geologist collects a sample of lava, quenching it in a bucket of water. Chemical analysis of the lava provides insight into changes in the magma plumbing system.

Summit lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu at relatively low level

Left: The summit lava lake today was at a relatively low level, about 65 meters (210 feet) below the Overlook crater rim, associated with summit deflation. Spattering was active along the lake margins. This photograph shows overflows from April and May (dark lava in bottom portion of photograph) covering the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Right: Pele's hair covers the roadside along Crater Rim Drive, next to the Halemaʻumaʻu parking lot, in an area of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park closed to the public due to proximity to the summit lava lake. The Pele's hair (long strand of volcanic glass) is emitted from the lava lake and carried upwards by the rising gas plume, and then drifts downwind.

June 30, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but little forward progress

Active pāhoehoe lava is scattered over a broad area northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but has not advanced significantly over the past month. Today, the farthest active lava was about 7.5 km (4.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the leading tip of this breakout burning vegetation. Aerial view towards the southwest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left.

Left: A closer look at the upper June 27th flow field, where numerous breakouts were active. The active breakouts are visible as the light-colored areas near the bottom of the photo. In the lower right, the remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa can be seen. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left. Right: A view of the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, where two small incandescent vents have been active recently.

Left: A closer view of the one of the pāhoehoe breakouts near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa. The dark flakes on the surface are bits of crust from the underlying flow that get stuck to the front of the newer flow, and end up on the top surface as the nose of the new flow inflates. Right: A view of the breakouts active near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa.

June 19, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but little forward advancement

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the June 27th lava flow, but have not advanced significantly over the past month. This photo shows the farthest reach of active lava on the flow field today, which was about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Minor brush fires were active where lava was entering forest.

Left: This photograph shows the south margin of the June 27th flow, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, where many small scattered breakouts were active. The active, and recently active, breakouts are visible at the light gray areas. Right: Little has changed in Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past month, and a small lava pond still exists within the circular pit in the western portion of the crater. This pit can be seen through the fume in this photo, and a tiny area of incandescence at the edge of the active pond is barely visible.

Scattered breakouts were active at the margins of the June 27th flow, with only minor expansion of the flow margins over the past two weeks. This photo shows an active breakout on the south margin of the June 27th flow, moving over older ʻaʻā from Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

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