East Hawaii News

HVO: June 27 Upslope Breakouts Active

March 17, 2015, 1:11 PM HST
* Updated March 17, 1:12 PM
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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Tuesday that the three breakouts to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, part of the June 27 lava flow, continue to remain active this afternoon.

Following HVO’s morning update on the flow status, geologist Janet Babb said during a media briefing that field scientists were out and had confirmed that the status of the breakouts remained as reported earlier in the day.

A breakout that began on the northern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō continued to spread out at the northeastern base of the cone.

The second of the three main breakouts, located near Kahauale’a, has reached the forest edge of the flow field that is to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

About 3-4 miles to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, a third breakout remains active. This section of lava flow, however, has been noted as relatively small.

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“There’s nothing advancing in any threatening manner or posing any kind of immediate threat to the community. There is still a clear indication that we have the system being supplied to a certain point and molten material is coming downhill within maybe 3-4 miles from the summit,” Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira told reporters.

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Babb said that the HVO ground crew was taking measurements to determine the volume in the lava tube and that they would conduct an overflight of the entire flow following the ground assessment. During the overflight, the crew will be mapping the area and taking thermal imagery with the goal of determining the status of the tube.

“The thermal imagery will help determine the status of the tube. If it is remaining hot, that could mean lava is still in it and could be reoccupied. The cooler it is, the less likely it is that lava will reoccupy it downslope,” Babb explained.

HVO and Civil Defense have both said that the downslope portions of the flow nearest the Pahoa area continue to remain largely inactive Tuesday.

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According to webcam images, HVO says that there have been no major changes in the crater and the tiltmeter on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō has recorded no significant tilt in the past day. The tiltmeter located at Kilauea’s summit, however, showed an inflationary tilt in the past two days, which can be attributed to the inflationary phase of a DI event that occurred at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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