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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.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

View of the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, looking west. The flow front has focused into a new lobe that is slowly migrating through thick forest, triggering scattered forest fires. The smoke from these fires seems to be “seeding” the cloud above it. The active flow front was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Mauna Loa can be seen in the distance.

Top: Looking northeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the smoke coming from forest fires at the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow can be seen in the distance. In the foreground, thick fume is coming from the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava tube, which is supplying lava to the flow front. Bottom: View of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. This small cone is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. The cone has recently hosted a small lava pond, but today this seemed to be crusted over. See the time-lapse sequences below to see recent activity at this cone.

Thermal image of the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Yellow and white areas depict active breakouts, while red areas are cooler, inactive portions of the flow. Over the past week a new lobe has pushed east, between lobes that were active in November and January. The tip of this new lobe was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Compare this view to the February 20 map (see link above).

Spattering and gas pistoning in the northeast cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This selection of images shows activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past two weeks. The lava pond was undergoing gas pistoning, a gradual buildup and release of gas in the lava pond that is often associated with spattering and lava level changes. For scale, the lava pond is about 10 m (30 feet) across.

More images of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, taken with a time-lapse camera.

This Quicktime movie shows a time-lapse sequence of activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater on February 9-10. Rapid fluctuations in the height of the lava pond are caused by gas pistoning, which is the gradual buildup and release of gas in the pond. Mauna Kea is visible in the upper right portion of the frame. The sequence was captured by an inexpensive time-lapse camera, whose plastic housing was warped by the extreme heat.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 source vent and Puʻu ʻŌʻō:

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is fed from a spatter cone, shown here, on the northeast edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor.

The spatter cone is about 8 m (26 ft) high. (click to enlarge)

The spatter cone is about 8 m (26 ft) high. (click to enlarge)

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow extends to the north and northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

From the edge of the flow, where it first reaches the forest, Puʻu ʻŌʻō still appears to tower above the surrounding plain.

From the edge of the flow, where it first reaches the forest, Puʻu ʻŌʻō still appears to tower above the surrounding plain.

Views of Kahaualeʻa 2 flow:

Active breakouts on the Kahaualeʻa 2 are scattered over a broad area.

Here, a breakout near the edge of the forest engulfs trees and burns dead foliage.

Here, a breakout near the edge of the forest engulfs trees and burns dead foliage.

This beautiful bubble of glass, about the size of an small orange, adorns the surface of a breakout on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

Note the delicate bubble walls stretched so thin that they grade from the color of honey to transparent.

Note the delicate bubble walls stretched so thin that they grade from the color of honey to transparent.