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The Sciences

Halema`uma`u rockfall update: Lava wins again!

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiJuly 6, 2009 9:05 AM

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A quick update on the rockfall in the Halema`uma`u (got it right this time!) Crater at Kilauea. Last week a rockfall blocked the vent that had been glowing for most of the year from the lava below, but the debris clogged the vent, producing minor accidental tephra explosion.

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Lava in the recently "clogged" Halema`uma`u vent at Kilauea. Taken July 6, 2009, courtesy of HVO.

Well, it didn't take long for lava to retake the "clogged" vent. New video from HVO shows lava bubbling back up through the clogged vent (see the video in the above link). The lava has formed a small lava and even produced some spatter as well. This would seem to indicate that the lava is, in fact, not draining from the summit and I (and others) suggested when the rockfall occurred last week. This new activity was somewhat unexpected as HVO released an update this morning (July 6) noting both deflation and a reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions from the Halema`uma`u Crater. Just shows how quickly lava can retake a vent even after what seemed like a significant "clogging".

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