Puna lava flow volcano alert dropped from warning to watch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Puna lava flow volcano alert dropped from warning to watch

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Image: USGS Image: USGS
IMAGE: USGS IMAGE: USGS
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has downgraded the volcano alert level for Kilauea from a warning to watch because the immediate threat from the June 27th flow has been reduced. USGS geologists say that while eruptions continue at both the Puu 'O'o vent on Kilauea Volcano's East Rift Zone and in Halemaumau Crater at the volcano's summit -- lava flows nearest to the town of Pahoa have become inactive in recent weeks.

At this time, HVO scientists say the only active surface lava is in the upper four miles of the flow field below the Puu 'O'o vent and based on the rate and trajectory of those flows, they project it will be months before lava could reach to within one mile or one week of homes or infrastructure. However, geologists say this time frame could change quickly if eruption rates or the location of lava emission changes significantly.

HVO scientists say it's unlikely the lava tube that fed lava flows toward the Pahoa Marketplace will become active again, however, if this were to occur -- lava could reach the currently inactive portion of the June 27th lava flow field within weeks.

Experts say if activity picks up again there are two possible paths the flow could take -- if breakouts along the northern margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, the resulting lava flow will likely follow steepest lines of descent in the direction of the Hawaiian Acres and Ainaloa subdivisions. If breakouts towards the south margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, they say the flow will likely approach the Pahoa area.

USGS geologists say they will continue to monitor the volcano closely in cooperation with Hawaii County Civil Defense and daily updates will continue.

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