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Originally published October 29, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 29, 2007 at 12:16 PM

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Lava flowing farther from new Hawaii volcano vent

Lava flowing from a new vent on Kilauea volcano's s eastern flank is now feeding into a lava tube that could allow it to travel farther...

Information

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (includes Kilauea): www.nps.gov/havo

Seattle Times

HILO, Hawaii — Lava flowing from a new vent on Kilauea volcano's s eastern flank is now feeding into a lava tube that could allow it to travel farther and faster, geologists have confirmed.

The formation of tubes can be worrisome because they insulate the lava, which has advanced 1.5 miles from the end of the open lava channel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and let it flow farther.

But Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's daily assessment that "there are no immediate threats directly from lava flows" remained unchanged, meaning thousands of residents near the volcano. Puna residents remain at a safe distance.

Kilauea has been erupting for 24 years. On July 21, a new outbreak of lava occurred to the east of Puu Oo vent. It was the first time lava erupted in the area outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since 1992.

This new vent started out as an aa flow, characterized by a rough, broken and sharp surface.

But the hotter lava promotes the formation of pahoehoe flows, which has a smoother surface created by the movement of fluid lava under a congealing crust.

The new eruption site is situated on lands adjacent to the park in the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve, which is administered by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Access to the remote area, which is not accessible by car, is closed to the public.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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