UPDATED 3/8/2011 11:00 a.m.

An active lava vent on Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has sent tourists running — and not in the opposite direction.

Air-tour companies have added flights to accommodate demand as more island visitors hope to catch a glimpse of the new vent, which opened on Saturday and continued to spew lava through the weekend, at times throwing lava 80 feet into the air.

A spokeswoman for the Big Island‘s tourist office told USA Today that while there are more flights, a 1,500-foot temporary flight restriction remains in place around the eruption.

The fissure opened up after Puu Oo crater collapsed on Saturday, sending up a giant plume of ash. The crater — and the new vent nearby — are in a remote area about 10 miles east of the Jagger Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The fissure now measures 1.4 miles long, with lava continuing to erupt up and down the vent.

This development is considered part of the larger volcanic eruption that began in 1983, and has been continuing ever since. Because of the eruption, officials closed roads and eastern trails around the park until further notice.

Last month, volcano scientists observed rising levels in a giant lava lake — it resembles a tar-filled sink hole in Halemaumau crater. You can see pictures of the lava lake here: Lava Lake Rises

See a slideshow and several videos of the volcanic eruptions, all courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey:




To see other cool pictures of Hawaii and vote for your favorites in our photo contest, go here: Not Your Typical Beach Scene.

Read more at the Star-Advertiser and KHON.