Lava closes part of national park as Kilauea crater collapses
Kilauea's Puu Oo crater collapsed more than 250 feet Wednesday.
August 5th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Lava closes part of national park as Kilauea crater collapses

The lava-filled crater in Hawaii's Kilauea volcano collapsed more than 250 feet Wednesday, according to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

The Puu Oo crater, which holds a lake of lava inside the cone at Kilauea's summit, last collapsed in March. Wednesday's collapse created a lava flow that split into two directions and closed a portion of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It did not affect any areas outside the park's boundaries.

Click here to see a collection of footage, photos and time-lapse video of the lava-spewing crater

According to an update from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory on Thursday night, "The crater rim remained extremely unstable, with continued collapses along the crater walls sending blocks of rock onto the crater floor."

Kilauea has been erupting continually since 1983. Hawaii's volcanoes erupt effusively, meaning runny lava bubbles up and flows out, as opposed to building up pressure and exploding violently.

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Filed under: Hawaii • Nature • U.S. • Volcanoes
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. mjkbk

    Puu Oo is NOT at Kilauea's summit. It's miles away, on Kilauea's flank. There is a separate lava lake at the summit, which is not the one that collapsed this week.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andrea M

    Um, Kilauea's lava is not runny at all. It's extremely viscous and ropey usually, creating characteristic rumples and folds when cooled. It is known to move slow enough that you can actually stand near it (with proper protection) and even move buildings out of the way!

    August 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geologist

      While mafic lavas like those found in Hawaii may appear to us to be fairly viscous and ropy, compared to other Felsic lavas, it is actually extremely runny. Felsic lavas, like those found at Yellowstone or Mt. St. Helens, are considerably more viscous, so much so in fact that, instead of flowing, they pretty much just explode!

      August 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam A.

      The lava from Hawai'i's volcanoes is runny when compared to lavas from other volcanoes. Of course it is extremely viscous, say, compared to water... but research the lava of stratovolcanoes. These are the types that explode... usually helped by extremely thick lava that does not move smoothly through a volcano. It can block and build up pressure until the volcano explodes.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geologist

      JINX! You owe me a coke...

      August 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      Ok, so I'm no vulcanogist so my terminology may not be correct, so here goes..... that is so freaking cool !

      August 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geologist

      It is completely rad...TO THE MAX!

      August 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kaimu makena

    This is a great example of CNN putting out inaccurate information that the world consumes as truth. The consequences in this case are minimal, however, the practice is too common. The previous poster is correct and the lava lake used to be where the collapse took place within Pu'u O'o and has since drained out. There is a second lava lake miles up slope at the summit crater within the floor of Kilauea crater.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      You expect too much from CNN these days. They let all subject matter experts go ages ago and only have journalists that know how to type up half baked stories.
      This is an example.
      So was the abysmal ignorance when Fukushima started and they interviewed physicians about nuclear reactor operations, Bill Nye the science guy talked about how boron was a reaction byproduct and how cesium-137 was used to stop nuclear reactions and interviews with everyone EXCEPT nuclear scientists or nuclear engineers about what was going on with the reactors, proving to be even more wrong than fairwinds in their information.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Simon

    Actually Puu Oo IS at Kilauea's summit. I should know I live next to there. Research before posting! As well this is runny lava – speed has nothing to do with that characteristic....amateurs

    August 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      You're incorrect. Halemaumau is the summit crater of Kiluea, Pu'u'O'o is to the southeast at a lower elevation.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Island Resident

      Simon, you're either an idiot or a liar. Next thing you'll be saying is that Waikiki is a short bus ride from Hilo. Maybe you should get a job as a reporter for CNN.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      You know you're wrong.....No, You're wrong...... No you are.... No you ARE !!! No you....... No you are wrong and you are a boobie-head.... MOM !!!!!!!!

      August 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |

    dude you need to educate yourself before writing stories!

    August 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jose Head

    Darn! I was just there last month and NOW it gets crazy!

    August 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    Going back to FOX for news.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      ... where they will blame the democrats for not preventing the crater collapse.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • FauxNews Hatef

      If you go back to FauxNews you can learn the real "facts" that the christian god made this happen because he is mad at everyone in the pacific. Who cares about geology, it was obviously the magic of a deity! FoxNews?! Please...

      August 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    Man, I really wish I were there. When I visited last winter solstice the volcano was just steaming... apparently I caught it at a relatively inactive time. Would have been awesome to see some lava flows! Oh well, more of a reason to go back!

    August 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Widow

    God CNN... You guys need to get your facts straight!! It is not like a murder mystery or finding out where Casey Anthony is staying.. The facts are in the damn encyclopedia!!!! Hello!!!!! This is like the weather channel app saying for the next six hours a hi of 80 when it isn't gonna dip below 90!!! I hate people who just assume or don't update!! Next it will be a 25ft drop not 250ft!! Lol

    August 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ok


    August 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wzrd1

    USGS has cameras on the site AND updates that are FAR more accurate than what the hacks at CNN are pretending to be real facts.
    Go to volcanoes dot usgs dog gov slash hvo slash cams for a page with all of the cameras and links to updates.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Ha. Well said.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Akamai

    So many "experts" on here.... and some so nasty in their posts, too.
    Bottom line, most people don't have a clue where Pu'u O'o is relative to overall Kilauea... and probably really don't care. What they're interested in is simply the fact that lava is flowing.
    When I drive over to the volcano, I just appreciate the vastness & the power. I'm not there to map it. And I think Tutu Pele has been pretty gracious about that over the years.
    For current info, the USGS site is:

    August 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geologist

      but...but...geological mapping is fundamental to our understanding the "power and majesty" of these natural's also killer fun, too!

      August 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steveo

      You don't think accuracy is important when reporting "facts"? Most people do.

      August 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Wzrd1:
    Your comment on journalists and their expertise in subjects reviewed works really well for (serious) music criticism, where one gets everything from the great Claudia Cassidy (Chicago Tribune) down to ________.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Akamai

    I really do wish the media would learn to spell Hawaiian words correctly though.... it's Pu'u O'O (not Puu Oo) and Hawai'i (not Hawaii). And Halema'uma'u.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akamai

      Oops- typo on my part - Pu'u O'o. Sorry.

      August 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
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