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Lava Flowing Stronger from West Vents in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

January 11, 2021, 3:04 PM HST
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8:29 AM HST Monday, Jan. 11, 2021: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Around sunset on Saturday (January 9, 2021), a break in the rain allowed HVO scientists to visit and monitor the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u. The west vent is still actively effusing lava, but outflow into the lava lake is increasingly sluggish, as evidenced by slow-moving crustal plates near the once-vigorous vent outlet. Also, much of the crust in the eastern half of the lake has stagnated completely, likely because the lake level has not changed significantly in the past three days. USGS photo by H. Dietterich.

Lava activity remains confined to Halemaʻumaʻu with lava erupting from vents on the northwest side of the crater. The west vents exhibited stronger flow starting Sunday afternoon with spattering and spatter-fed lava flows from the top of small cones plastered on the northwest wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Lava also flowed from the west vents through a crusted channel into the lake.

On Jan. 10, the lava lake is about 643 feet deep below the west vents while remaining stagnant over its eastern half, while the stagnant eastern half of the lake was about 3-4 yards shallower. SO2 emission rates were still elevated.

Seismicity remained elevated but stable, with steady elevated tremor and a few minor earthquakes. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that additional magma is currently moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones. SO2 and H2S emissions from Puʻu ʻŌʻō were below instrumental detection levels when measured on Jan. 7.

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On Jan. 10 the eastern part of the lake appeared to have subsided below its perched rims. Overall, the dimension of the lake remained the same. The lake was still perched at least 1-2 yards above its narrow edges even though the eastern half of the lake appeared stagnant this morning.

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All islands were stationary over the past day as if frozen in the eastern stagnant portions of the lava lake. The dimensions of the main island remained unchanged with its edges several yards above the lake surface.

On Jan. 8, the west end of the island was measured as 10 yards with the high point 25 yards above the lake surface.

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