HVO Photos & Video

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April 13, 2016 — Mauna Loa

Another check of summit cameras

Mauna Loa's summit was cold and clear this morning while HVO scientists performed maintenance on the summit thermal camera and two seismic stations. A few faint steam sources were noted in the usual locations on the caldera floor.

April 12, 2016 — Kīlauea

Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, no overall advancement

Surface breakouts remain scattered northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with a slight retreat in the reach of active breakouts since the last overflight on March 25. Today, the farthest active lava was 5.7 km (3.5 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Much of the activity was at the forest boundary, burning trees and creating numerous smoke plumes.

Left: One of the more vigorous breakouts on the flow field today, producing a sheet of blue-glassy pāhoehoe. Right: Views were hampered today by sporadic downpours. Once the rain passed, areas of active breakouts were evident by the larger steam plumes coming from the surface (for example, at the top center of the photograph).

View of Halemaʻumaʻu plume from HVO

One benefit of passing showers today at Kīlauea's summit was a double rainbow. Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is at the right side of the photo, and the gas plume from the active lava lake can be seen drifting towards the southwest. At the far right edge of the image, visitors take in the view at Jaggar Overlook.

April 8, 2016 — Kīlauea

Summit lava lake level drops

HVO geologist uses a laser rangefinder to measure the depth of the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea in the Overlook crater. The lake level was about 58 m (190 ft) below the crater rim this afternoon. In recent days the lake level has dropped about 35 m (115 ft) as tiltmeters at the summit have recorded a larger than usual deflationary trend. The spattering of the lava lake (middle right of photograph) was triggered by a small rockfall from the north crater wall directly above. Large rockfalls into the lake typically cause small explosions that hurl molten lava onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, one of the hazards of this area (for example, see January 8, 2016, entry below). The tripod in lower right supports one of the Web cams used to track activity of the lava lake.

March 25, 2016 — Kīlauea

Breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, a small lobe advancing through forest

Breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with scattered activity along the north margin of the flow field at the forest boundary. One narrow lobe of lava has pushed through forest over the past few weeks, and is 7.6 km (4.7 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photo looks southwest, and the front of the narrow lobe is in the foreground, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō near the top of the photo. The breakouts active at the forest boundary along the northern flow margin can be seen by their smoke plumes along the right side of the photo.

Left: Another view, looking west, showing the activity along the forest boundary and northern flow margin. Scattered breakouts were burning forest in this area. In the upper left portion of the image, Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen. Right: The altered and fractured rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater is prone to small collapses. Portions of the eastern crater rim, shown here, have collapsed onto the crater floor, covering the recent lava flows with rubble.

Left: In the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater, there has been a small pit for nearly a year. The pit is about 60 m (200 feet) wide, and a small circular lava pond resides beneath the overhanging west rim of this pit. Right: HVO geologists walk along the edge of the inner crater in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, making stops periodically to perform laser rangefinder measurements of crater dimensions.

This Quicktime movie shows one of the more vigorous breakouts on the flow field today.

Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake remains active

Last Saturday, March 19, marked the 8-year anniversary of the start of Kīlauea's ongoing summit eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Halemaʻumaʻu spans much of the width of this photo, and the small inner crater in the foreground is the Overlook crater, which contains the active lava lake. The gas plume at this time was originating from a spattering area in the southern portion of the lake, obscured by the crater wall from this angle.

March 4, 2016 — Kīlauea

Breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; small lava flows in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest activity slightly more than 6 km (3.7 miles) from the vent. Some of the breakouts were active along the forest boundary, creating small brush fires. Other breakouts, like the one shown in this photograph, are covering earlier portions of the flow field.

Left: An HVO geologist carefully approaches a skylight on the June 27th lava tube. The skylight provided a view into the lava tube, and revealed a swiftly moving lava stream. Right: Small vents in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have been active recently, and erupting new lava flows onto the floor of the crater. The light-colored flow in the center of the photograph was active this morning, and slowly spreading across the crater floor.

Left: A closer look at the active flow in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, with a small vent in the distance throwing spatter. Right: A vent in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater contained a small lava pond and was throwing spatter a short distance. The accumulated spatter has built a small cone around the opening. A thick layer of Pele's hair covers the far side of the cone.

This Quicktime video shows spattering activity at a small vent in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

March 2, 2016 — Kīlauea

Lava covers part of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor

This movie, created from a sequence of HVO webcam images, shows lava erupting from a spatter cone within the south embayment in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater (see February 24 image below for location). The activity started around 8:15 a.m., HST, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, and covered part of the crater floor before ceasing at about 3:00 p.m. The lava did not flow beyond the crater. This type of activity is not unusual for Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and does not reflect a significant change in the ongoing eruption.

February 24, 2016 — Kīlauea

Current configuration of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater

Puʻu ʻŌʻō has changed dramatically over the years. This map shows the configuration of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's current crater (outlined in yellow) and vents (marked in red). The base image is a mosaic created from photographs captured during a helicopter overflight on January 19, 2016. The current crater, with a maximum width of about 290 m (317 yd), is nested within a much larger crater that was present in early 2011. The current crater is about 20 m (66 ft) deep and has distinct embayments at its northeast, northwest, and south sides. These embayments were pits when the current crater formed in mid-2014. A short distance west of the current crater is a 50-m- (~165-ft-) wide pit, informallly called the West pit, that contains a 25-m- (~80-ft-) wide lava pond. The source of the currently active June 27th lava flow is a vent on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 250 m (273 yd) downslope from the crater rim.

Left: This photo looks north-northwest at the northeast embayment at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, showing the vent (a spatter cone) on the floor of the embayment. The heavy fume on the rim of the embayment is another vent. Right: This photo, also of the northeast embayment at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is interesting because it shows the lava tube for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, active during 2013 and 2014, exposed high on the crater wall. The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is the lava flow that preceded the currently active June 27th lava flow, which began June 27, 2014.

Left: This photo, looking to the west, shows the two spatter cones that mark vents on the floor of the southern embayment in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Right: This photo looks north into the northwest embayment at Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The spatter cone on edge of the embayment (the dark object nearly surrounded by white staining) has not fed lava flows for several months, but incandescent holes on the spatter cone (not visible in this photo) show that lava still resides beneath it. The fume in the distance at upper right is from the June 27th flow lava tube.

Left: This photo looks west toward the West pit on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Right: The West pit, as seen in this photo looking west, contains a small lava pond that is tucked partly back under the pit's overhanging southwest wall. The walls are, in fact, overhanging most of the pit's circumference, making the pit wider at the bottom than at the top.

February 12, 2016 — Kīlauea

Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Scattered breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with much of the active lava moving along the northern flow field boundary, burning vegetation and creating smoke plumes. This view looks southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is near the top of the photograph.

Left: A closer view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking northwest. The vent for the June 27th lava flow is at the right edge of the photograph, near the source of white fume. Mauna Loa (upper left) and Mauna Kea (upper right) are visible in the distance. Right: A narrow stream of lava pours from the top of a tumulus (roughly 3 meters, or 10 feet above the surroundings), attesting to the fluid pressure in the interior of the flow. This view looks north, towards the area that lava is burning forest. Mauna Kea is faintly visible in the distance.

Left: Clear skies today had bright sunlight filtering through the thick fume on the rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater. Right: Gas jetting sounds were originating from incandescent openings on this spatter cone on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

One of the many active pāhoehoe lobes on the flow field today.

Comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of a pāhoehoe lobe on the flow field today.

High level in the summit lava lake

Left: The summit lava lake level has continued to rise over the past week with inflation, and was about 30 meters (roughly 100 feet) below the Overlook crater rim. Right: A closer view of the lava lake surface. The white plume originates from lava spattering, just out of view.

January 19, 2016 — Kīlauea

Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; clear views in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest active lava today at 5.9 km (3.7 miles) distance from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Much of the activity is at or near the forest boundary, creating numerous areas of burning. This view looks southwest, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō visible in the upper left portion of the image.

Left: A closer view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, just above the center point of the photograph. View is towards the southwest. In the foreground, the circular lava pond that was active in July 2014 is visible. The lava tube feeding the active flows on the June 27th lava flow is evident by the line of white fume sources extending off the right side of the photograph. Right: Viewing conditions into Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater were exceptional today, providing clear views of the crater floor. This view is towards the northwest. The inner, deeper crater formed in mid-2014 following the opening of the June 27th vent, and occasional small flows on the crater floor are evident by their dark color. The smaller, circular pit in the west portion of the crater has contained a small, active lava pond in recent months. Very little of the original cone, formed in the early part of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption in the mid-1980s, remains visible on the surface. The tan colored area in the foreground, and the brown sections of the crater rim in the upper part of the photograph, are the original portions of the cone and consist of cinder and scoria.

Left: This photograph was taken from the western pit at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and shows the small lava pond (roughly 20 m in diameter) contained within the pit. Right: Incandescence was visible in the small pit that formed recently on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Colorful sulfur deposits have formed recently around one of the cracks on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Left: A view of the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater, with the small circular pit that contains the active lava pond. HVO's cameras are on the rim at the right side of the photograph. Right: A hornito has recently formed over the lava tube on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, at the spot of the breakout that occurred on November 25.

An HVO geologist collects spatter deposited around the base of the hornito for geochemical analysis.

January 8, 2016 — Kīlauea

Early morning explosive event at Kīlauea summit lava lake

A rockfall on the east rim of the summit vent within Kīlauea Volcano's Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered a small explosive event at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. Explosive events like this occur more frequently when the lava lake level is relatively high, as it has been this past week—around 30-35 m (100-115 ft) below the vent rim. Rocks in the vent wall expand as they are heated by the high temperature of the lava lake and become unstable. Sections of these unstable rocks can then collapse into the lava lake. This Quicktime movie shows today's rockfall as seen from HVO and Jaggar Museum.

When large rockfalls impact the lava lake, they trigger explosive events that propel volcanic rock fragments (tephra) upward. This morning's event was vigorous enough to hurl incandescent fragments onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, about 110 m (360 ft) above the lava lake surface. This Quicktime movie shows some of these fragments flying toward the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam that is perched on the rim of the crater. Rockfalls and subsequent explosive events occur with no warning, and the resulting fragments of hot lava and rocky debris thrown onto the crater rim pose a significant hazard in this area.

Left: The January 8, 2016, rockfall and subsequent explosive event littered the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with fragments of molten lava. In this image, you can see what remains of the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook wooden fence, which has been repeatedly been bombarded by spatter and rock fragments since 2008. The blue bucket attached to the fence is one of HVO's tephra collectors so that lava fragments and rocky debris ejected from the summit vent can be quantified and analyzed. Right: The rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater was covered in a nearly continuous blanket of tephra following today's early morning rockfall and subsequent explosive event. Tephra is the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, and can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter. Two backpacks (in background), which belong to HVO scientists who briefly entered the area to collect tephra samples for laboratory analyses, provide scale for the fragments hurled onto the crater rim this morning.

The 10 cm (4-inch) pocket knife in this image provides scale for one of the larger fragments of molten lava that was thrown onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. So much spatter was ejected to the crater rim this morning that it is hard to discern one lava fragment from another.

Coolest Pele's Tear ever!

This photo shows a one-of-a-kind, completely hollow Pele's tear about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) long. It was found on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu and was ejected in association with this morning's explosive event, probably during the aftermath when the lake surface was spattering vigorously.