HVO Photos & Video

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December 21, 2014 — Kīlauea


Satellite image shows distribution of active breakouts on June 27th lava flow

This satellite image was captured on Friday, December 19, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA's Earth Observing 1 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

The upslope portion of the June 27th flow, near Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is obscured by clouds, but the downslope portion of the flow near Pāhoa is relatively cloud free. The image provides a clear view of the distribution of active breakouts on this downslope portion of the flow. Surface lava is active around the leading tip of the flow, marked as "active flow front", but a short distance upslope of the leading tip there is an absence of surface breakouts. About 1.5-2 km (0.9-1.2 miles) upslope of the leading tip of the flow, many scattered breakouts are present. This image emphasizes that activity on the June 27th flow is not limited to the flow front.

December 19, 2014 — Kīlauea


Leading tip of flow has slowed, but remains active

Left: Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow continues to advance downslope toward the Pahoa Marketplace. This photo is of a small breakout from the edge of the inflated flow several hundred meters (yards) back from the active front. Right: This photo gives the general appearance of the surface of the flow, looking upslope, where the flow is narrower on slightly steeper terrain. It is normal for trees within the flow path to not burn after they topple. By the time the trees fall over, the surface crust of the flow has cooled below their ignition temperature. The photo was taken about 350 m (380 yards) behind the tip of the flow. The flow was already inflated 2 to 3 meters (yards) at this location.

December 18, 2014 — Kīlauea


Active flow front continues downslope towards northeast

The leading tip of active lava on the June 27th flow continues downslope, through thick vegetation, towards the northeast. The active front this morning was 1 km (0.6 miles) upslope of Pahoa Marketplace, as measured along the line of steepest descent.

This photo looks downslope towards Highway 130. The leading tip of the flow has widened over the past few days, and branched into two fingers - both of which are heading in the same general northeast direction.

This shows a comparison of a normal photograph looking downslope with a thermal image. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. In the thermal image, white and yellow pixels show active surface lava, which is focused along the leading edge of the flow.

In addition to active surface lava at the leading tip of the flow, breakouts were active about 2 km (1.2 miles) upslope of the leading tip. These breakouts were scattered and feeding several small lobes.

Left: Even farther upslope, in the area of ground cracks, there were two small breakouts burning vegetation on the north margin of the flow. This photograph looks west, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen on the horizon. Right: Still farther upslope, about 3 km (roughly 2 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, scattered breakouts were active.

A comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image showing an HVO geologist collecting an active lava sample. The lava is quenched in the bucket of water. Lava samples like this are routinely collected for chemical analysis, which provides insight into the magmatic system feeding the eruption.

This Quicktime movie provides a brief aerial overview of the active flow front.

December 16, 2014 — Kīlauea


Active flow front continues northeast towards Highway 130

The active flow front continues to advance to the northeast, in the general direction of Pāhoa Marketplace. This morning, the leading tip of the active flow was 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from Pāhoa Marketplace, as measured along the path of steepest descent. Over the past week, the flow front has advanced approximately 2 km (1.2 miles), which equates to an average advance rate of 285 meters per day (roughly 0.2 miles per day) over that period.

This photograph looks downslope towards Pāhoa, and shows the active flow front moving through dense vegetation upslope of Pāhoa Marketplace and Highway 130.

A comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image of the leading edge of the active flow. Plumes of smoke upslope of the front mark the locations of scattered breakouts. The thermal image shows that active lava is focused along the leading margin of the flow.

Left: In addition to the active flow front, scattered breakouts were present about 2 km (1.2 miles) upslope, and consisted of several fingers branching a short distance off from the main body of the flow. Right: The leading tip of the flow has widened over the past day. Yesterday, the leading tip of the flow was roughly 80 meters (87 yards) wide, but today the leading tip was roughly 200 meters (220 yards) wide.

Left: A vertical view into one of the skylights on the lava tube upslope. A swiftly moving stream inside the lava tube confirmed that lava continues to be supplied downslope this morning. Right: HVO geologists walk over the lava tube on the northern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō while conducting a very low frequency (VLF) survey. Measurements are taken along a line of points (at flagged rocks) crossing perpendicular to the tube.

December 12, 2014 — Kīlauea


Lava continues advancing downslope towards northeast

The active flow front continues to advance downslope towards the northeast. This morning, the leading tip of the active lava was 2.6 km (1.6 miles) upslope from Pāhoa Marketplace, as measured along the steepest descent line.

An HVO geologist uses a handheld GPS unit to mark the flow margin coordinates. The flow field map today was updated by taking a series of GPS points like this around the leading portion of the flow.

December 9, 2014 — Kīlauea


Leading tip of active lobe continues advancing downslope

The leading tip of the active portion of the June 27th lava flow continues to advance downslope, and is 3.4 km (2.1 km) from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (as measured along a straight line). The front has advanced 300 meters (0.2 miles) since Sunday, December 7, and 1.4 km (0.9 miles) since our last overflight on December 1. The front is in an area of relatively flat topography, which may explain reduced advance rates over the past few days.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of the active lobe on the June 27th lava flow. Corresponding points are marked with letters for reference. Active surface flows were present at the front of the lobe, and there were numerous small breakouts scattered in the immediate area upslope of the front.

Left: A vigorous channelized breakout on the flow, a short distance upslope of the leading tip of activity. Right: A breakout was also present in the upslope portion of the June 27th lava flow, closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The breakout point was about 800 meters (0.5 miles) north of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, which is close to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The breakout began on December 5 from the existing lava tube, and this photo shows the breakout point clearly. The roof of the lava tube is a raised ridge formed by earlier (darker) portions of the June 27th flow, and the new breakout (light gray) broke out from several spots on the side of this ridge. The new breakout has several small solidified channels - where these channels intersect the ridge of older lava marks the breakout points.

December 2, 2014 — Kīlauea


Satellite image shows activity in downslope portion of June 27th lava flow

This image was acquired yesterday (December 1, 2014) by the WorldView 2 satellite, and shows the activity in the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow. The portion of the June 27th lava flow that entered Pāhoa in October is inactive, but a new lobe is advancing downslope a short distance west of the earlier flow. The leading tip of the new lobe is evident by its long smoke plume, caused by vegetation burning. A Civil Defense overflight this morning (December 2, 2014) showed that this active tip continues to move towards the northeast.

December 1, 2014 — Kīlauea


New lobe of June 27th lava flow advances downslope from ground crack area

The breakouts that began about two weeks ago near the area of ground cracks continued to advance downslope over the past week, creating a new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. This lobe is a short distance west of the earlier portion of the June 27th flow that reached Pāhoa. The new lobe advanced about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) over the past week, which is equivalent to about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day). A narrow lava channel was active this morning at the leading tip of the new lobe. The leading tip of this active lobe was 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (the intersection by Pahoa Marketplace).

Left: A closer look at the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the active lobe. The channel consists of both open sections as well as sections that are crusted over. Right: A small breakout was also active on the upslope portion of the June 27th lava flow. The pāhoehoe lava was flowing over an ʻaʻā flow from late 2007.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of activity on the June 27th lava flow. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. The thermal image shows the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the new lobe.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the narrow channel at the leading tip of the new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. The normal photograph is partially obscured by smoke from vegetation burning, but the thermal image can "see" through the smoke to show the nature of the channel in detail. Some sections of the channel are completely covered by crust (forming a lava tube), while other sections were open with a smoothly flowing surface.

November 24, 2014 — Kīlauea


Breakout remains active around ground cracks and well site

Although the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow, near Pāhoa, is inactive, breakouts persist upslope near the ground crack system and well site. The lava has advanced a short distance downslope towards the north (towards the right side of the image), following the west margin of the existing June 27th lava flow. The currently active breakout is visible as the light colored area, while the older portions of the June 27th flow appear darker.

Left: This view looks downslope towards the east. The active breakout is burning vegetation along its margins, creating numerous small smoke plumes. Residential areas are visible in the upper portion of the photograph, with Pāhoa in the upper left. Right: A vertical view of the lava flow in the area of ground cracks. Portions of the flow surface include numerous downed trees, resulting from the initial phases of the flow burning through the trunks, causing the trees to topple. Other areas of the lava flow are devoid of downed trees, and show areas where a second, or third, phase of lava burned through the downed trees on the initial flow surface.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the breakout active in the area of ground cracks. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. The thermal image shows the location of active pāhoehoe lobes scattered over the area of the breakout, with activity slowly advancing downslope towards the north (right side of images). The original surface of the June 27th flow is visible near the bottom of the photograph, and residual heat in the inactive lava tube marks its path downslope.

Elevations of various surfaces and features at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

When Puʻu ʻŌʻō began to form in 1983, the ground surface on which it was built was at an elevation of about 720 m (~2,360 ft). The Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone eventually reached a height of 255 m (837 ft), putting its top at an elevation of about 975 m (~3,200 ft). Because the cone has progressively collapsed since the late 1980's, the current high point, on the cone's northwest rim, has an elevation of about 890 m (~2,920 ft).
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Filling of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater during 2013 and early 2014 brought the crater floor to an elevation of about 870 m (~2,854 ft). After the onset of the June 27th lava flow, a smaller crater formed on the eastern side of the filled crater floor. The solid floor of this smaller crater (it's not a lava lake) is at an elevation of about 840 m (~2,756 ft). This is the same elevation as the exposed base of the south flank of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone. The elevation of the exposed base of the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is quite a bit lower at about 785 m (~2,575 ft). The June 27th vent is at an elevation of about 820 m (~2,690 ft). The distance from the high point on the northwest rim to the south rim (from left to right in this photo) is about 300 m (~980 ft).

November 23, 2014 — Kīlauea


Small surface flow near crack system west of Kahoe Homesteads

One of many small pāhoehoe toes and surface flows noted by HVO geologists this morning in the area near the crack system where lava partially filled, and flowed out of a crack, around September 6.