PUNA, Hawaii – A lava lobe on the northern edge of the June 27th flow field is slowly moving downhill, but scientists say it currently poses no threat to nearby communities.
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports today that the webcam on Puʻu ʻŌʻō shows small breakouts scattered across the flow field in the distance to the northeast of the cone, where they’ve been occurring for the last several months.
USGS mapped the flow field on March 25. Observations from that day found the most distal lava breakout to be 4.7 miles northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
The map shows the lava lobe is following a line of deepest descent towards Hawaiian Acres. At the rate its going there’s no reason for alarm yet, USGS HVO geologist Tim Orr told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald last week. Orr said the advancing lava lobe was something scientists are watching, but it would need to capture more of the overall flow activity in order to be more concerning. Right now, the activity is scattered across the flow field and has not organized in any one direction for too long. There is always a chance the eruptive pattern will change before the flow becomes a threat, as well.
The flow began on June 27 when a new vent opened on the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, sending flows that eventually threatened the town of Pahoa in the fall of and winter 2014. But the portion of the lava flow that was burning its way into town died off, and the flow has since remained active upslope, far from populated areas. The alert level for Kilauea volcano has been at “Watch” since March 25, 2015, when USGS downgraded it from “Warning”.