(Above) USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photos show the advancing lava flow front on the middle East Rift Zone. The front of the flow – which started on a June 27 breakout – is 2.6 miles from the Pu’u O’o vent.
by David Corrigan
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii – A new lava flow that began at Pu’u O’o crater on June 27th has advanced more rapidly over the past four days. Scientists say the flow is already 2.6 miles from the vent were it broke out. It is moving northeast, and poses “no immediate threat to residential areas”, according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
The June 27th breakout that spawned the current lava flow actually killed off a previous flow that was also headed northeast, but at a very slow pace. The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow was getting a little too close to Puna’s subdivisions for comfort, before the June 27th breakout cut the lava supply and beheaded the creeping flow front. Now the new flow is picking up speed.
“This recent increased advance rate is due to the confinement of the flow against the slopes of an older perched lava channel, from 2007,” wrote USGS geologists. “The advance rate will likely drop in the coming days as the flow passes the confines of the perched channel and spreads out on flatter topography.”
An updated map shows how far the new flow front has advanced since it first emerged.