(BIVN) – Geologists are keeping a close eye on Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the East Rift of Kīlauea Volcano. Today, the inflationary trend of the past several weeks continued, suggesting that the crater is pressurized.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recently released a “time-lapse image sequence taken by a time-lapse camera on the rim of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō’s west pit,” which spans March 20 to April 18. “The sequence, of approximately one image per day, shows the growth of the lava pond within the west pit as it developed into a perched lava pond,” scientists said.
Another USGS video shows a virtual flyover of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. “The 3-D model was constructed from thermal images collected by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists during a helicopter overflight on April 18,” scientists wrote. “In this model, the active lava pond in west pit, a small crater adjacent to the main Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater, appears hotter (bright yellow) than the surrounding area. The floor of the main crater has been uplifting due to increasing pressure within the magma system beneath Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. For scale, the main crater is about 280 m (920 ft) in diameter.”
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a new Volcanic Activity Notice on April 17. USGS says a new vent could form on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō at any time.
Meanwhile, the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea has risen to a very high level. Deformation at the summit has also been inflating in recent weeks.
On Saturday, USGS reported:
Summit tiltmeters recorded inflationary tilt during the past day. When measured yesterday afternoon, the lava lake level was about 10 m (33 ft) below the rim of Overlook crater; the level had risen 4 meters (13 ft) from the previous day. The lava lake continued to rise overnight by a few meters (yards).
It has been a few years since the summit lava lake has overflowed.