(BIVN) – Scientists say a change appears to have occurred at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. The significance of the change is yet to be determined, according to Kyle Anderson of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, who detailed the latest developments during a 11 a.m. media conference call.
Anderson said the size of the vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which was measured at 12-acres in early May, has since expanded to 120-acres, mostly through collapses and the enlargement of the crater itself. The vent is now more than half the size of Halemaʻumaʻu.
The floor of the vent is now filled with collapsed rubble from the crater walls, Anderson said, and the old lava lake conduit is completely covered. Minor venting of gasses is now occurring and visible at the bottom, “but the great majority of the plume is now gone,” the USGS scientist added.
The depth of the crater is not yet known.
Anderson said its an important change at the Kilauea summit, but its too early to determine its significance. “Its possible that new explosions will blast through the rubble at the bottom of the vent,” Anderson said. “These may or may not be larger than the previous explosions.”
“It is also possible that the vent may become permanently blocked, ending the explosions entirely,” Anderson said.
Earthquake activity remains high due to continued summit deflation.