Since February 1969 Alae Crater, a 165-m-deep pit crater on the east rift of Kilauea Volcano, has been completely filled with about 18 million m3 of lava. The filling was episodic and complex. It involved 13 major periods of addition of lava to the crater, including spectacular lava falls as high as 100 m, and three major periods of draining of lava from the crater. Alae was nearly filled by August 3, 1969, largely drained during a violent ground-cracking event on August 4, 1969, and then filled to the low point on its rim on October 10, 1969. From August 1970 to May 1971, the crater acted as a reservoir for lava that entered through subsurface tubes leading from the vent fissure 150 m away. Another tube system drained the crater and carried lava as far as the sea, 11 km to the south. Much of the lava entered Alae by invading the lava lake beneath its crust and buoying the crust upward. This process, together with the overall complexity of the filling, results in a highly complicated lava lake that would doubtless be misinterpreted if found in the fossil record. ?? 1972 Stabilimento Tipografico Francesco Giannini & Figli.
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The complex filling of alae crater, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii