Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Photo Information

Lava pours back into vent during drainback, Kilauea Iki Crater
Photograph by J.P. Eaton at 7:30 a.m. on December 19, 1959

Lava drains back into the vent about 70 minutes after the 16th episode ended; this episode covered the entire lava lake with new lava. Only part of the small west crater of Kilauea Iki Crater is visible in this view of the vent area.

As the lava poured into the vent, large sections of the dark lake crust were pulled apart by the differential movement of the molten lava below. The river of lava flowing back into the depths of Kilauea is about 60 m wide. The inner walls of Pu`u Pua`i cone glow where slides have bared the incandescent interior.

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Updated: 24 May 2000