Volcano shoots lava after collapse
07 March 2011, 09:26
Volcano - A new vent has opened at one of the world's most active volcanoes, sending lava shooting up to 20m high, scientists at Kilauea volcano said on Sunday.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the fissure eruption was spotted shortly after the floor at the Pu'u O'o crater collapsed around 17:00 local time on Saturday. It occurred along the middle of Kilauea's east rift zone, about 3.2km west of Pu'u O'o.
"As a volcanogist, this is what we do. These are the moments we wait for," Janet Babb told KHON2. "It is exciting to see an eruption begin particularly if you can see it from the very start."
Kilauea has been in constant eruption since January 3 1983.
At the summit, lava receded rapidly late on Saturday but seemed to slow Sunday. There were also about 150 small earthquakes were recorded within Kilauea in the past 24 hours.
Scientists said areas near the vent could erupt or collapse without warning, posing a threat to visitors or hikers to the area. Also potentially lethal concentrations of sulphur dioxide gas could be present within about 800m downwind of vent areas.
Because of the latest activity, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed Chain of Craters Road and all east rift zone and coastal trails. Kulanaokuaiki campground was also closed until further notice.
Babb told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that the fissure has expanded to about 490m long and that scientists were hiking into the remote area to observe the fissure and take readings.
No homes are under threat.