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USGS: June 27 Breakout Building a Lava Shield

July 2, 2014

The June 27 breakout initially produced a channelized lava flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa (about 1.5 km, or 0.9 miles, from the vent) during the first day, but over the past two days the surface flows have retreated closer to the vent, building a lava shield (visible just above the center of the photograph). (USGS)

The following photos and video were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS). Note: these photos were not taken in areas currently accessible to the public. (You can visit the official website of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for current information on the areas of Kilauea that are open to public).

This comparison of the normal photograph with a thermal image shows the extent of the lava shield clearly. The lava shield is visible as the area of high temperatures (hot colors) in the thermal image. Corresponding spots are marked with small arrows for reference. The initial channelized flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa during the first day is inactive now, but still slightly warm. (USGS)

Another look at the lava shield formed from lava erupting from the June 27 vent. The shield consists of a broad, and relatively flat, top with multiple narrow streams of lava flowing down the sides. (USGS)

The lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has existed here for months, but it enlarged considerably during lava level drop and collapses that occurred with the start of the June 27 breakout. Today, the lava pond was about 35 meters (yards) across, and seven meters (yards) below the rim. (USGS)

A view from the ground of the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Note the layering exposed in the wall above the pond surface. (USGS)

View of the wall above the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The lava pond surface is in the lower portion of the photograph. The dark hole in the upper part of the photograph is the truncated entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying lava to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. With the lava level well below the entrance to the lava tube, lava is no longer flowing into the tube and the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is now inactive. The lava tube here is about 2 meters (yards) wide. (USGS)

A closer view of the entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. (USGS)

CLICK TO WATCH: This Quicktime movie shows activity in the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has been here for months, but it enlarged considerably during the June 27 breakout as the lava level in the pond dropped. (USGS)

Until recently, surface flows were active in this portion of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, triggering small brush fires and creating smoke plumes. With the opening of new vents on June 27, the supply of lava into the Kahaualeʻa 2 tube was shut off (see photos of the tube above). There were no active surface flows anywhere on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow today. (USGS)

 

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