USGS HVO Press Release — Lava Returns to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater

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The presence of new lava in the bottom of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater was confirmed this afternoon by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists.

When viewed at about 2 p.m. HST, lava was covering fresh flows that may have erupted in the crater between 8 and 9 a.m. this morning, when first reported by local helicopter tour operators.

This afternoon lava was flowing across the crater floor, which sank at least 100 m during the pause over the last two weeks. The lava source was below the location of the Beehive vent. The lava flowed eastward and ponded near the crater center. Loud, gas-jetting noises could be heard associated with spattering on the crater floor.

The crater is still filled with fume making the new lava difficult to see. There were geophysical signals that activity may have returned to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater. HVO monitoring instruments detected slightly elevated seismic tremor overnight; however, the view of the crater from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō webcam remained obscured by fume. A University of Hawai‘i infrasound array identified signals from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vicinity starting around midnight last night, suggesting a change was in the works.

Lava was last seen at the Poupou ocean entry on June 20, after the intrusion that started on June 17, 2007, led to a small eruption by the morning of June 19. After a similar event in late January, 1997, lava returned to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō 23 days later and again flowed towards the ocean a few weeks after that.

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website at

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