New Kilauea lava vent could form 'at any time,' scientists say

New Kilauea lava vent could form 'at any time,' scientists say

KILAUEA VOLCANO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scientists with the U.S.G.S. issued a Volcano Activity Notice on Tuesday, warning that the magma system beneath Kilauea's East Rift Zone had become increasingly pressurized and that a new vent could form 'at any time' if conditions persist.

Based on data observed over the past month, the new vent could form on either the existing Pu'u O'o cone or on an adjacent area along the East Rift Zone, scientists say.

Magma is currently accumulating 'at shallow depths' beneath the existing Pu'u O'o eruption. The last time a major vent opened in the area was June 27, 2014 – the appropriately-named June 27th Flow sent lava flowing more than 12 miles into the town of Pahoa, causing minor damage to roads and structures.

The June 27th Flow persisted until March of 2015, when another vent opening in the area redirected the lava flow toward the ocean.

The volcano activity notice issued Tuesday says the potential for a sudden breakout along the Pu'u O'o eruption zone is extremely hazardous, and that the location and flow direction of new lava vents are impossible to predict ahead of their formation.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.