The face of Halemaumau has changed, possibly forever, after mont - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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The face of Halemaumau has changed, possibly forever, after months of eruptions

Halemaumau is now larger than it was in early May. (Image: USGS) Halemaumau is now larger than it was in early May. (Image: USGS)
KILAUEA VOLCANO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Over the last two to three months, the face of Halemaumau crater has changed drastically.

According to USGS scientists, the depth of the crater has more than tripled while its diameter has more than doubled.

This is a result of large amounts of magma moving from the summit down into the lower east rift zone. This same movement caused the near-daily collapse events at the crater, which would often trigger strong earthquake-like shaking.

Scientists noted the change during an overflight Monday morning.

"Cracks and down-dropped blocks of the caldera floor have slumped into Halemaumau. At the base of the steep crater walls are piles of talus (rock fragments) shaken loose during previous summit collapse events," USGS officials said.

Areas of persistent steaming within the crater, in the vicinity of the former lava lake, are also visible.

Over the weekend, scientists also noted a drastic change in the amount of lava being discharged at fissure 8 in the lower east rift zone.

It's not clear what's causing the significant reduction in lava, but scientists say the lava discharge could resume at any time.

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