HVO Photos & Video

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December 4, 2016 — Kīlauea


Time-lapse sequence of lava lake activity at Halemaʻumaʻu

This video, at 50x speed to illustrate the motion of the lava lake surface, shows typical lava lake activity within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Lava upwells in the northern portion of the lake (left side of image), with most of the lake surface flowing towards the south (right side). Spattering is active within a small grotto at the southeast margin of the lake.

December 2, 2016 — Kīlauea


Another rockfall triggers an explosive event in the summit lava lake

As you watch this VIDEO CLIP, note the rocky ledge (yellow arrow) at the bottom of the webcam image. At 6:58 a.m., HST, today, this large slab of the summit vent wall, located directly below HVO's HMcam, collapsed. Rocks falling into the lava lake triggered a small explosive event that bombarded the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with spatter (fragments of molten lava), similar to Monday's (Nov. 28) event. These rockfalls and explosions, which occur without warning, in addition to sulfur dioxide gas emissions, are why this hazardous area remains closed.

November 30, 2016 — Kīlauea


Views of the Kamokuna ocean entry

A close-up of one of several streams of lava entering the ocean at the front of the Kamokuna lava delta on Kīlauea's south flank. The billowy white plume formed by the interaction of hot lava and seawater may look harmless, but it is a mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny shards of volcanic glass—all of which should be avoided.

A wide view of the ocean entry, showing the broad lava delta on the right. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) are built on a foundation of rubble, so they can (and do) collapse without warning. Because of this, lava deltas are one of the most hazardous areas on Kīlauea, and people are urged to enjoy the beauty of the ocean entry from a safe distance.

November 29, 2016 — Kīlauea


Ocean entry continues, with breakout near Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Lava continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna, where a lava delta about 19 acres in size has been built. The gravel emergency access road is visible on both sides of the surface flow that cut it. The view is to the southwest.

Left: Large cracks parallel to the shoreline are still visible on the Kamokuna delta, indicating instability. The view is to the northeast. Right: Lava is transported to the Kamokuna ocean entry, its plume is visible in the distance, via a lava tube. The trace of an active lava tube is often identifiable by a line of fume, as seen here for the episode 61g lava tube above the Pūlama pali.

A breakout from the episode 61g vent at the head of the lava tube on November 21 sent lava streaming downslope. That breakout was still active when observed on November 29 and had traveled about 1.3 km (0.8 miles), partly surrounding Puʻu Halulu, a tephra cone formed in 1983 at the start of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption. The PEcam webcam looks upslope from Puʻu Halulu toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which is shrouded by clouds (top background).

Typical lava lake activity in Halemaʻumaʻu

Kīlauea's summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu is about 255 m (~840 ft) long (left to right in the image) and 195 m (~640 ft) wide. From this perspective, magma rises into the lake near its north edge (upper left) and circulates to the south, where it sinks all along the south margin of the lake. The rim of Halemaʻumaʻu is at the right edge of the photo, and the closed visitor overlook is hidden beneath the fume at upper right.

Left: Another view of Halemaʻumaʻu with its lava lake. The view is to the southeast. Right: The U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the National Park Service Jaggar Museum are perched together near the summit of Kīlauea, about 1.7 km (~1.1 mi) from the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu, producing a plume in the background.

November 28, 2016 — Kīlauea


Rockfall triggers an explosive event in summit lava lake

VIDEO CLIP captured by HVO webcam: At 11:59 a.m., a rockfall from the south wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered a small explosive event in the summit lava lake. The explosion threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) onto the rim of the crater, mostly to the west of the former visitor overlook. This area has been closed to the public since 2008 due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including explosive events like the one that happened today.

This VIDEO CLIP shows a cloud of ash and spatter being thrown from the summit lava lake during today's explosive event. The images were captured by an HVO webcam located on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, just above the rockfall area. Spatter falling onto the crater rim is a reminder of the hazards that exist in this area, which has been closed since 2008.

Left: HVO scientists visited the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu this afternoon (11/28) to collect samples of tephra and check for equipment damage. This view, taken on the approach to the Halemaʻumaʻu, shows the tephra deposit on the crater rim. New spatter is seen as dark lumps scattered across the center of the image on top of older brown-colored Pele's hair. The closed Halemaʻumaʻu overlook is in the background at right; HVO and the Jaggar Museum are on the caldera rim in the distance near upper left. Right: This view shows the main body of the tephra deposit, which comprises the dark fragments scattered from the foreground to the web camera in the background (the HTcam thermal webcam). The rim of Halemaʻumaʻu is to the right; the closed overlook is behind the photographer.

Left: The larger spatter bombs bounced after hitting, leaving divots in the layer of Pele's hair that blankets the area, as seen here. These bombs are the diameter of large dinner plates. Right: The largest spatter bombs traveled the farthest, perhaps aided by momentum, landing on the trail between the Halemaʻumaʻu parking area and overlook. Upon landing, these bombs splatted to form complexly shaped bomb fragments connected by thick strands and masses of Pele's hair.

Only a relatively small amount of spatter reached the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, compared to the thick, continuous layer of spatter seen here on the intermediate ledge midway between the lava lake and the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater rim.

November 26, 2016 — Kīlauea


A clear evening provides stunning views of the summit lava lake

A clear evening provided good views of the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Spattering was active along the south margin (left side) of the lava lake, with the gas plume drifting to the southwest (upper left). Mauna Loa, visible in the far distance towering above Kīlauea, provided a stunning backdrop to the lava lake as the sun was setting. HVO and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum, perched on the rim of Kīlauea's summit caldera, can be seen on the skyline in the upper right part of the photo.

Left: This close-up view of the lava lake surface on the south side of the lake shows a typical spreading zone. In this image, the crustal plates on both sides of the incandescent line are migrating to the south (toward the lower left corner of the photo), but the crust on the left side is moving more rapidly to the south than the crust on the right. As the semi-solid crust pulls apart, molten lava upwells between the two plates to create new crust. Right: A slightly wider view of the lake surface, encompassing the photo at left. The lake surface is migrating to the south (lower left corner of image), towards the spatter source visible in the lava lake photo above.

November 23, 2016 — Kīlauea


Breakout on the 61g lava flow field

Left: HVO geologists hiked across the 61g flow field to investigate this breakout at the base of the pali on Kīlauea Volcano's south flank. Toes of active pāhoehoe lava were slowly advancing on top of older ʻaʻā and pāhoehoe flows erupted earlier this year. Right: A close-up view showing the ropy texture that forms on the surface of pāhoehoe lava.

November 22, 2016 — Kīlauea


Breakout from episode 61g vent

A breakout started from the episode 61g vent on the east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday morning (Monday, November 21) at around 08:40 AM. The breakout sent lava flows south and northeast, and these flows were still active as of Tuesday afternoon (November 22). This image, captured at 2:10 PM today, is from a webcam on Puʻu Halulu that looks southwest toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō (background). The light colored lava extending into the foreground is the more-active northeast branch of the breakout. This breakout poses no threat to nearby communities.

November 13, 2016 — Kīlauea


Typical lava lake activity within Halemaʻumaʻu

The level of the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea has been high recently, providing good views of spattering from the Jaggar Museum visitor overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This photo shows activity as viewed from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater (closed to the public since 2008 due to volcanic hazards). Spattering is common, and on Sunday (Nov. 13), was focused along the southeast margin of the lake, which is partially obscured by the crater wall.

Foundering of the lava lake crust is common near the lake's margins. The triangular-shaped slab of crust (left of photo's center) was sinking back into the lake as more fluid lava upwelled around it.

November 9, 2016 — Kīlauea


Pele's hair provides clues about Kīlauea lava

A USGS-HVO scientist collects Pele's hair from the parking area south of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which has been closed since early 2008 due to ongoing volcano hazards associated with the summit lava lake. Today, with the lack of trade winds, the noxious sulfur dioxide gas emitted from the lava lake was being blown away from this area, but his gas mask was at the ready just in case the wind shifted. A hard hat is necessary at all times because explosions within the summit vent, which occur without warning, have thrown pieces of molten lava and solid rock into this area and beyond.

A close-up of Pele's hair from Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake. X-ray diffraction analyses of the Pele's hair (basaltic glass) collected today will provide information on the mineralogy of Kīlauea lava, which, in turn, can shed light whether the magma supply to the volcano is constant or is changing. The accumulation of Pele's hair downwind of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is the focus of HVO's October 20, 2016, "Volcano Watch" article (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=460), which includes a description of how it forms and additional photos.