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New flows emerge from Pu‘u O‘o; summit lava lake remains high

Updated: 
May 25, 2016 - 12:00pm

Lava began flowing in two directions from Kilauea’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o cone Tuesday morning.

The flows occurred at the vent of the ongoing June 27 flow on the northeast side of the cone and a new vent near the site of the 2011 Peace Day flow on the cone’s east flank, said Janet Babb, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman.

The flows were heading northwest and southeast, reaching between 0.6 and 0.4 miles, respectively, as of an 8:30 a.m. overflight.

Neither were threatening communities or nearing the edge of the existing flow field, though Babb said residents in the closest subdivisions might see glow from the open channels.

“Until it reaches the edge of the flow field we will not know which way it will go,” she said. “It’s a wait and see at this point.”

Babb said the new activity is a result of inflation in the magma reservoir that ha d caused the crater floor to rise.

“We’ve seen these situations in the past,” she said.

Meanwhile, the lava lake at the volcano’s summit rose high enough for spatter to be viewed from the Jaggar overlook.

As of Tuesday morning, the summit lava lake was 75 feet below Halemaumau crater.

The June 27 flow, that threatened Pahoa in 2014, remained active within 3.6 miles northeast of Pu‘u ‘O‘o.

Babb said it remains to be seen if the new breakouts will rob that flow of its supply.

For more information, visit http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php.

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