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Eruption Creates New Lava Lake in Hawaiian Volcano

It's baaa-aack! Lava has returned to the Pu`u `? `? crater on Mount Kilauea. (Image credit: HVO/USGS.)

Lava has newly erupted inside a volcanic crater that collapsed several weeks ago and hours before a nearby spectacular fissure eruption on Mount Kilauea.

The new lava lake is inside the Pu`u `? `? crater on the Hawaiian volcano. The fresh lava arrived almost 20 days after the crater floor collapsed on March 5 and almost 16 days after the Kamoamoa fissure eruption to the west on March 9. [In Images: Hawaii's Mount Kilauea Erupts .]

The lava reappeared on March 26, slowly filling the deepest parts of the crater, which is a large hole created by volcanic activity. Inside of craters are vents that erupt lava.

The new lava lake eventually filled the bottom of the crater and was stable yesterday (March 28), but was still swirling due to lava spatters in the middle of the lake, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said in a statement.

Just weeks before the new eruption, HVO scientists found that the Pu`u `? `? crater floor dropped at least 377 feet (115 meters) as it collapsed.

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During the fissure eruption that followed, lava rocketed from a new opening on Kilauea's east rift zone, between the Pu`u `? `? and Napau craters. (A fissure is a split in a volcano that opens in a straight line.) Kilauea's new fissure came after the floor of the Pu`u `? `? crater collapsed March 5.

The new lava lake is confined to the crater and is not a threat to nearby areas or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, according to the HVO.

The lava lake can be viewed on an HVO webcam here.

Email OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel at bisrael@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.