Puu Oo: 1983-1986

For 65 days following Episode 3, the volcano was quiet. On the morning of June 13, the level of tremor began to increase. By late morning, a line of discontinuous fountains 65 to 130 feet (20-40 m) high and 330 to 490 feet (100 to 150 m) long formed down rift from Puu Kamoamoa. The locus of major fountaining was at the "O" vent, a 65 foot (20 m) high spatter cone. The cone enclosed a crater that contained a lava lake (Wolfe and others, 1988). Lava fountains rose 100-165 feet (30-50 m) above the surface of the lava lake. Overflow of the lava pond established a river of lava that flowed to the southeast and extended to the west side of the Royal Gardens subdivision. This photo shows an aa flows that was surging through Royal Gardens at a rate of 100 feet (30 m) per minute. Note the stop sign. The flow buried roads but did not destroy homes. Activity stopped on June 17, 1983. The O-vent was later renamed Puu Oo.

Puu Oo Lava Fountains

Puu Oo lava fountains quickly developed an episodic pattern. Eruptive episodes ranged in duration from 9 hours to 4 days. The episodes were characterized by a high-volume discharge of lava flows, vigorous fountaining, rapid summit subsidence, and strong harmonic tremor in the vent area. Repose periods ranged in length from 8 to 51 days and were characterized by reinflation of the summit of Kilauea Volcano and weak harmonic tremor in the vent area (Wolfe and others, 1987). Near the end of the eruptions from the Puu Oo vent, activity became increasingly regular, with eruptive episodes lasting less than 24 hours separated by repose periods lasting about 25 days (Ulrich and others, 1987). Photograph by J.D. Griggs, U.S. Geological Survey, June 30, 1984.

Lava channels rapidly transported large volumes of lava away from the vent. Photograph by J.D. Griggs, U.S. Geological Survey, July 1, 1984.

Puu Oo (lower right) and the (mostly aa) lava flow field it produced. Royal Gardens subdivision is in the top right corner. Photograph by J.D. Griggs, U.S. Geological Survey, September 27, 1984.

During several eruptive episodes, aa flows reached the Royal Gardens subdivision. In 1983 and 1984, lava flows destroyed 16 homes. Photograph by J.D. Griggs, U.S. Geological Survey, 1983.

End of Eruptions from Puu Oo

In all, 44 episodes of high fountaining at the Puu Oo vent built a cinder-and-spatter cone 842 feet (257 m) high and covered 15 square miles (40 square km) with lava. Puu Oo is the largest new volcanic feature to form in the Hawaiian Islands in historical time. Puu Oo has remained active from 1986 to the present. During most of this time, a lava pond has covered part of the floor of the crater.

The current eruption is an excellent example of a flank eruption. Summit eruptions at Kilauea are in or adjacent to the caldera (bottom center of photo). Since 1983, magma has left the reservoir beneath the caldera and traveled in the east rift zone about 12 miles (20 km) to supply the Puu Oo vent (top center of photo). Puu Oo is in a remote area. It can be seen in the distance from Highway 11 and Puu Huluhulu or by hiking Napau Crater Trail.

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