Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for the week of September 15, 2011

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Time-lapse movie of Pu‘u ‘O‘o Crater September 8-15, 2011 (for the HD version click here)

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

The level of the lava lake on the east side of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater is even with the craterâ€'s northeast rim. Standing at that spot afforded an eerie view looking across the surface of the lake. A scientist, rescuing equipment, is visible on the crater rim in the background. The view is toward the south. Photos by USGS/HVO

The level of the lava lake on the east side of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater is even with the craterâ€'s northeast rim. Standing at that spot afforded an eerie view looking across the surface of the lake. A scientist, rescuing equipment, is visible on the crater rim in the background. The view is toward the south. Photos by USGS/HVO

A lava lake has been present within the Halemaumau Overlook vent over the past week, resulting in night-time glow visible from the Jaggar Museum. The lake, which is deep within the vent cavity and visible by Webcam, dropped to a lower level last weekend during a period deflation, but has since risen back to a higher level as the volcano reinflated.

Effusion within eastern and western lava lakes in Pu‘u ‘O‘o, on Kilauea’s east rift zone, also declined last week but has picked up again since. The resurgence in effusion led to overflows out of the crater and onto Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s east and west flanks. As this activity has developed, the lava lakes, impounded by levees made up of their own chilled lava, have begun to rise up out of the crater. As of Thursday, September 15, the eastern lava lake had stopped overflowing, while the western lava lake continued to repeatedly spawn flows that advanced down the western side of Pu‘u ‘O‘o cone.

The overflows were fed from the edge of an active lava lake filling the east side of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater. As the lake and its containing levees has risen, an ever increasing amount of the east rim of the crater is being buried. This photo, looking roughly northwest, shows lava overflowing the east rim of the crater.

The overflows were fed from the edge of an active lava lake filling the east side of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater. As the lake and its containing levees has risen, an ever increasing amount of the east rim of the crater is being buried. This photo, looking roughly northwest, shows lava overflowing the east rim of the crater.

Two earthquakes beneath Hawai`i Island were reported felt this past week. A magnitude-2.2 earthquake occurred at 9:36 p.m., HST, on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, and was located 6 km (4 mi) southwest of Laupahoehoe at a depth of 13.4 km (8.3 mi). A magnitude-3.2 earthquake occurred at 5:06 a.m., HST, on Thursday, September 15, 2011, and was located 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Ka`ena Point at a depth of 9.3 km (5.8 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 and email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

Volcano Watch is a weekly article and activity update written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Lava has been overflowing the east rim of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater over the last few days. These overflows have traveled up to about 500 m down Pu‘u ‘O‘o's east flank before stalling as the slope flattens. The overflows show up in this photo as lighter gray pahoehoe and A‘a flows at the center of the image. The view is to the west.

Lava has been overflowing the east rim of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater over the last few days. These overflows have traveled up to about 500 m down Pu‘u ‘O‘o's east flank before stalling as the slope flattens. The overflows show up in this photo as lighter gray pahoehoe and A‘a flows at the center of the image. The view is to the west.

A lava lake also fills the western side of the crater. This morning, lava overflowed that lake, and then filled and overtopped the northwest rim of a pit on the west side of the crater (the West Gap pit; just above and to the right side of the photo). These flows have traveled up to about 400 m down the northwest flank of Pu‘u ‘O‘o to its base. View is to the northwest.

A lava lake also fills the western side of the crater. This morning, lava overflowed that lake, and then filled and overtopped the northwest rim of a pit on the west side of the crater (the West Gap pit; just above and to the right side of the photo). These flows have traveled up to about 400 m down the northwest flank of Pu‘u ‘O‘o to its base. View is to the northwest.

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