Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still moving through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and a lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Mar 7, 2014: The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active, and the active flow front is moving through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The flow front today was 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the upper left of the photograph, and is partly obscured by fume.

Mar 7, 2014: Another view of the active flow front, which is burning forest and causing scattered fires. Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea (right, with a snow-covered summit) are on the skyline in this wide photograph. At the very left edge of the photo, the plume from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake can be seen.

Mar 7, 2014: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō from the south. Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s tan-colored south flank is composed of cinder and spatter erupted in its early years (mid-1980s). Since that time, the cone has partially collapsed and lava flows have erupted on the flanks and within the crater, sometimes spilling over the crater rim. In the crater, there have recently been several small spatter cones emitting fume. Mauna Kea’s snow-covered summit is visible in the distance.

Mar 7, 2014: The northeast spatter cone has had a small (10 meters, or 30 feet, wide) lava pond, which experiences a cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface called “gas pistoning”, driven by the buildup and release of gas in the pond. This photograph captured the moment of gas release, which involved vigorous spattering. In the upper left, the plume from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake can be seen in front of Mauna Loa, and in the upper right Mauna Kea is visible.

Mar 7, 2014: This Quicktime movie shows the lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, which was undergoing “gas pistoning”. Gas pistoning is the cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface, driven by the buildup and release of gas in the lava pond. This sequence shows the drop of the lava level, which corresponds with vigorous spattering and agitation of the pond surface.

Mar 7, 2014: A close-up of the lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, with snow-covered Mauna Kea in the distance. Mar 7, 2014: This thermal image, taken from the helicopter, shows an area of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow near the flow front. This area consists of numerous small, scattered pāhoehoe lobes. Areas which are white and yellow are active, flowing pāhoehoe lava, while red and purple areas are recently active, but still warm, surfaces.

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