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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2004

New vent spawns rivers of lava

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Magma breaks to the surface outside Pu'u 'O'o and feeds a lava river flowing south.

Tim Orr • U.S. Geological Survey

Lava continued to erupt yesterday from a new vent at the southeast base of the Pu'u 'O'o cinder cone on the Big Island.

The vent, which opened just before 6 a.m. Sunday, is giving off a beautiful glow for visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and people driving along Highway 11, said ranger and park spokeswoman Mardie Lane. It is the first new lava vent since May 12, 2002, although the eruption has continued since then at Pu'u 'O'o.

"When you are driving up on Highway 11 you can definitely see the glow on low-lying clouds," Lane said. "And some people have seen the lava spattering from the highway."

Pu'u 'O'o is part of an eruption on Kilauea Volcano's east rift zone that began Jan. 3, 1983. Some of the lava was ponding yesterday in a low area near the vent, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

It has been very active in recent weeks, Lane said. On Saturday, Lane said she saw orange and yellow reflections of lava inside Pu'u 'O'o cone.

Hikers on the Pu'u Huluhulu trail have been able to see the glow from about seven miles away, Lane said.

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.

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