East Hawaii News

HVO Scientists Monitor Puʻu ʻŌʻō Activity

December 21, 2015, 9:53 AM HST
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An active lava pond on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater was observed by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field scientists late last week.

The activity is in an area that has been recorded via webcam images by the observatory as an incandescent, fuming source. Scientists have held a watchful eye on the area since early December, when a new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Scientists believe that the vent opened into the area of an abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface. As the view of the vent improves, the interpretation may also change.

HVO officials say the source is in addition to the usual persistent glow sources within Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater.

Along with field work last week, a helicopter overflight last Thursday confirmed activity within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field. In this area, active flows are scattered in an area about four miles from Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

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According to officials, the flows “are not threatening any nearby communities.”

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Skylight onto lava pond on the northeast spillway. HVO photo taken on Dec. 17.

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. HVO photo taken on Dec. 17.

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. HVO photo taken on Dec. 17.

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27 lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest. HVO photo taken on Dec. 17.

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. HVO photo, taken on Dec. 17.

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. HVO photo taken on Dec. 17.

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