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Hawaiian volcano crater floor collapse followed by eruption in fissue along Kilauea's east rift zone

Date:
March 7, 2011
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Summary:
A fissure that opened on Kilauea's east rift zone after the March 5 collapse of the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor continues to erupt lava. Activity along the fissure was sporadic overnight and throughout the following day, with periods of quiet punctuated by episodes of lava spattering up to 25 meters (80 feet) high.

At 5:15 p.m. local time on March 5, 2011 an HVO geologist flying over Kīlauea's middle east zone reported an eruption near Napau Crater. Subsequent observations put the location at approximately 2 km WSW of Pu`u `O`o. This photo shows a close-up of a spattering fissure with lava reaching 10 meters (30 feet) into the air.
Credit: Tim Orr, USGS

A fissure that opened on Kilauea's east rift zone after the March 5 collapse of the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor continues to erupt lava. Activity along the fissure was sporadic overnight and throughout March 6, with periods of quiet punctuated by episodes of lava spattering up to 25 m (80 ft) high.

The fissure is located west-southwest of Pu'u 'O'o in a remote area of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Due to the ongoing volcanic activity, Park closures remain in effect in this area.

Live views of Kilauea's fissure eruption are now possible via a Webcam installed by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) this afternoon. The Webcam images, which are updated every five minutes, can be accessed at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/cams/NCcam/.

Measurements made by HVO scientists show that the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor dropped at least 115 m (377 ft) during Saturday's collapse. The only signs of activity within the crater Sundaywere infrequent cascades of rock fragments falling from collapse blocks. This activity is visible when Pu'u 'O'o Webcam views, accessible at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/cams/POcam/, are not obscured by volcanic fume.

Lava flows on the pali and coastal plain are still active, but sluggish. Whether these flows are residual lava draining through the tube system or outbreaks that continue to be fed by lava from the east rift zone vent is not yet known. Based on similar events in past years, it will take a day or two to see if the lava supply has been cut off by the uprift fissure eruption.

At Kilauea's summit, the lava lake has receded deep within the vent in Halema'uma'u Crater and is now barely visible in HVO's Webcam images (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/cams/HMcam/). Small collapses of the vent walls occasionally produce dusty-brown plumes that can be seen from Park visitor overlooks.

Earthquakes are occurring at lower rates in the Napau Crater area adjacent to the new fissure eruption and beneath the summit caldera, but seismic tremor is significantly elevated in both areas. Summit deflation continues, but began to slow this afternoon. Deflation of the Pu'u 'O'o area has slowed throughout the day.

Daily updates about Kilauea's ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and east rift zone volcanic activity, and data about recent earthquakes are posted on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov. Additional status reports will be posted as warranted.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. "Hawaiian volcano crater floor collapse followed by eruption in fissue along Kilauea's east rift zone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110306234145.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. (2011, March 7). Hawaiian volcano crater floor collapse followed by eruption in fissue along Kilauea's east rift zone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110306234145.htm
U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. "Hawaiian volcano crater floor collapse followed by eruption in fissue along Kilauea's east rift zone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110306234145.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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