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Feb 17th
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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Lava Returns to Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano East Rift Zone

Lava Returns to Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano East Rift Zone

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After almost 17 days of being inactive, lava returned to the east rift zone of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano March 26, but there is no immediate threat to the public, rangers at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said.

The current lava activity is confined within the crater of Pu‘u ‘O‘o, a cinder and spatter cone, according to National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).
Eruptive activity started again at 10:09 a.m. HST on Saturday, March 26, 2011. By Sunday, a molten lava lake had filled the bottom of Pu`u `O`o Crater.

HVO Webcam images (
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/cams/POcam/) showed lava slowly filling the deepest parts of the crater.

An abrupt deflation occurred about the same time that lava appeared in the crater, but the deflation then switched to inflation by 11 a.m, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The eruption of lava also was heralded by a brief seismic tremor burst, in which tremor levels doubled and then began to slowly decrease.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Jim Kauahikaua, HVO's scientist-in-charge, said, "Lava is currently confined to the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater and, so far, poses no threat to structures within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park or outside park boundaries."

On March 5, the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater floor, on which nearly 75 m (250 ft) of lava had accumulated during the past year, began to collapse around 2 p.m. Three hours later, a fissure opened southwest of Pu‘u ‘O‘o and began erupting fountains of lava from active vents that eventually extended to Napau Crater. Lava continued to erupt from the Kamoamoa fissure until the night of March 9, when all activity on Kilauea's east rift zone paused. Since then, no lava had erupted from east rift zone vents until Saturday.

Kauahikaua stated that additional information about the return of lava to Pu‘u ‘O‘o will be posted on HVO's Web site as it becomes available.

For daily eruption updates, status reports, and information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii, please visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Web site at

USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit
www.usgs.gov. Subscribe to USGS news releases via our RSS feed.

For information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, visit the Web site at

To see our earlier eruption coverage, click here.

National & State Parks