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In Brief

Hawaii's Linked Lava Lakes Looking Lively

Pu'u 'O'o crater
A burst of spatter erupts from a small cone on the south rim of Pu'u 'O'o crater on April 20. (Image credit: Hawaii Volcano Observatory)

A dramatic drop in the lava lake atop Hawaii's Kilauea volcano piqued the interest of volcano watchers yesterday (April 21). The lava lake first started slowly sinking into its cylinder-shaped vent in Halema'uma'u Crater yesterday morning, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) said in its daily report. Beginning about 6 p.m. Hawaiian time (12 p.m. EDT), the rate of descent sharply increased and continued overnight.

The waning magma levels could mean a change in activity is coming at Pu'u 'O'o Crater, in Kilauea volcano's East Rift Zone. Kilauea's underground plumbing links both the summit lava lake and Pu'u 'O'o Crater. Lava flows pulsed from spatter cones at the East Rift Zone throughout the weekend. Yesterday, geologists had to rescue one of the HVO's webcams after lava heated and warped its tripod.

More pictures and video of Pu'u 'O'o crater here.

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Becky Oskin
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.