Previous Pu`u `O`o Eruption Updates from Kilauea Volcano
(episode 53)


This page contains update information from Episode 53 of the Pu`u `O`o eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Please see the eruption update page for more recent activity at Kilauea, including the second half of Episode 55

Feb. 1, 1996
    Eruption Flare up of Kilauea Volcano
(a report by Dr. Mike Garcia, Univ. of Hawaii)

    Kilauea's magma plumbing system received a pulse of additional magma today, causing an intrusion of magma from the shallow reservoir under Kilauea (3-6 km beneath its summit) to within 0.5 km of the surface. The summit area was rocked by numerous earthquakes causing rock falls. Everyone expected a new vent to form at the summit. The National Park Service evacuated the summit area as a precaution, but the vent did not appear. Instead, the new pulse of magma caused the lava lake in the throat of the Pu`u `O`o cone (almost 20 km away) to rise over 30 m forcing more magma through the lava tubes that are fed from it. This temporarily caused the skylights in the tubes to erupt like artisan wells and produce a surface flow that headed towards the ocean. This surge of additional magma was short-lived and the volcano returned to its original state by the end of the day. It was a great show while it lasted.
    The cause of the magma surge is thought to be related to the clearing of a partial blockage in the volcano's magma plumbing system. It demonstrates that the mantle is continuing to supply Kilauea with a steady and abundant supply of magma. Thus, there is no end in sight for the current Pu`u `O`o eruption, which celebrated its 13th birthday last month.

Sources used for this summary:

  1. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff
  2. TV photography
  3. Honolulu Advertiser newspaper

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Last page update on 23 Mar 1998