Lava ejected at Kilauea on Sunday, say scientists

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On Sunday night, “small incandescent particles” shot out of the 100-foot-wide vent at Halemaumau crater on the summit of Kilauea volcano, according to scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Geologists found “Pele’s hair” (thin strands of solidified lava) and “Pele’s tears” (droplets of lava rock) above the rim of Halemaumau this morning, indicating that molten lava was ejected from the vent for the first time.

Today, the plume rising from the summit of Kilauea on the Big Island looked noticeably different. Since March 11th, it has been fluffy white. But today there was a distinct brownish cast to the heavy, continuous plume (see photo).

This is caused by ash content, says Jim Kauahikaua, chief scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Kilauea’s summit.

The ominous-looking plume now reaches up to a mile above ground level.

There have been no further summit explosions since March 19.

What’s next? Our impetuous fire goddess Pele isn’t telling.

Halemaumau crater as viewed from nearby Kilauea Iki crater at 11:30 a.m., 3/24/08. Photo by Bill Harby
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