Volcano Watch — Kīlauea Eruption Update—June 13, 1997

Release Date:

Kīlauea's 14-year-old east rift zone eruption continues. Episode 55, ongoing since February 24, 1997, is characterized by shifting vent locations around the west and southwest flanks of Pu`u `O`o, and by intermittent activity within the Pu`u `O`o crater.
 

Kīlauea's 14-year-old east rift zone eruption continues. Episode 55, ongoing since February 24, 1997, is characterized by shifting vent locations around the west and southwest flanks of Pu`u `O`o, and by intermittent activity within the Pu`u `O`o crater.

The southern and western flanks of Pu`u `O`o are steadily being buried by new lava flows atop the episode 50-53 shield. The shield has gained an additional 35 meters (115 feet) in elevation over the last two months. Lava flows from the flank vents have spread over the shield area, forming perched lava ponds that spill over their own levees to feed channeled `a`a flows that have extended as far as 4 km (2.5 miles) from the vent. During the last week, the lava flow field has expanded north and east of the shield for the first time since 1992.

There is no longer an actively churning lava pond within Pu`u `O`o. The crater floor has been repeatedly resurfaced by pahoehoe flows issuing from a localized vent, near the collapsed western flank of the cone. At the present time, this vent has built a 30-meter-high (100 feet) by 40-meter-wide (130 feet) spatter cone on the crater floor. The crater floor itself has risen to within 4 meters (13 feet) of the low point on the west rim of the crater.

Intermittent spatter fountains from the Pu`u `O`o flank vents commonly reach heights up to 50 meters (160 feet). This spectacular activity can be safely viewed from the Pu`u Huluhulu overlook, 10 km (6 miles) from the eruption site. The overlook is a 2.3-km (1.4 miles) walk from the Mauna Ulu parking lot off Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Volcano Activity Update

There were no felt earthquakes during the past week.