Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for week of Aug. 4

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This Quicktime movie shows a timelapse sequence taken from the webcam on Pu`u `Ō `ō’s north rim. The movie starts just after noon on August 3, with the typical westward flow of lava within the perched lava lake. Just after 2pm, breakouts start on the flank of the perched lava lake and the lake begins to drop. Remarkably, while the lake drops the circulation is maintained, until the lake finally disintegrates. By the end of the sequence, the lava lake is gone and floor has dropped about 80 meters (260 ft). Around 3:15pm, you can see a portion of the rim, at the very right end of the image, collapse into the crater.

(Activity updates are written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.)

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the floor of Puu Oo Crater collapsed, followed quickly by lava gushing from several vents on the west flank of Puu Oo Cone. As of Aug. 4, these flows have advanced no more than 4 km (2.5. mi) but are still active.

The lava lake within the Halemaumau Overlook vent remains at a relatively high level within the vent cavity as the summit of Kilauea deflates. Heating of the vent walls above the lava lake continues to cause loud popping and cracking noises – sometimes audible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook – and glow from the summit has been bright.

Two earthquakes beneath Hawaii Island were reported felt this past week.

A magnitude-2.7 earthquake occurred at 6:50 a.m. Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, and was located 4 km (3 mi) south of Volcano Village at a depth of 2 km (1 mi).

A magnitude-3.4 earthquake occurred at 1:54 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, and was located 6 km (4 mi) southwest of Puu Oo Crater at a depth of 8 km (5 mi).

Visit the HVO Web site (hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for detailed Kilauea and Mauna Loa activity updates, recent volcano photos, recent earthquakes, and more; call (808) 967-8862 for a Kilauea summary; email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

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