HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – The lava lake at the summit of Kilauea volcano is going up, while the reach of the lava breakouts on the June 27 lava flow field has decreased.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported on Thursday that the summit lava lake level rose about 82 feet between April 8 and 13. The lava was 108 feet below the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater when measured at noon on Wednesday. Summit tiltmeters continued to record an inflationary trend during the past several days
Last week, the lava lake dropped as summit tiltmeters recorded a larger than usual deflationary trend. The 4-day deflationary period interrupted the longer-term inflationary trend of the summit, similar to previous deflation events, scientists say.
Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the East Rift Zone is also inflating, slightly. “For the past several months, GPS instruments that span Puʻu ʻŌʻō had shown the cone was spreading,” USGS HVO wrote on Wednesday, “which suggests the magma system beneath the vent was pressurizing; last week’s deflationary trend has interrupted this longer term trend.”
There has also been a “slight retreat in the reach of active breakouts” on the June 27 lava flow field. On Wednesday, the farthest active lava was 3.5 miles from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. That’s being compared to an April 3 satellite image that showed the most distal of these breakouts was 4.7 miles from the vent. Scientists observed a very minor expansion of the northern edge of the flow field.
Most of the lava flow activity was observed at the forest boundary, burning trees and creating numerous smoke plumes. Scientists say lava flow currently poses no threat to nearby communities.