New ‘lava breakout’ possible on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone, HVO says

  • Darker colors show recent earthquakes along Kilauea's East Rift Zone. Courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

A new volcanic vent could open on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone following a swarm of earthquakes and the collapse of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater floor, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says.

Earthquakes have been recorded as far east as Highway 130 and Lower Puna residents should remain alert as the situation rapidly evolves, geologists noted in an email alert Tuesday morning. One temblor was recorded at 4.2.-magnitude off the coast south of Pu‘u ‘O‘o .

“(An) outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome,” HVO said. “At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Pu‘u ‘O‘o is the most likely location, as this is where the seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”

Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s crater collapsed between 2 and 4:30 p.m. Monday following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone.

After the collapse, HVO recorded an increase in earthquakes and deformation from Kilauea’s summit to an area 6-10 miles east of Pu‘u ‘O‘o. Overnight, this activity localized downrift of the cone and continued to move eastward along the rift zone.