HVO Photos & Video

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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.

January 7, 2016 — Kīlauea


Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake

Left: In recent days, the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has been at a relatively high level. This view, looking roughly north-northeast, shows typical behavior, with lava rising into the lake at the distant end opposite the photographer, and sinking all along the base of the crater wall in the foreground and at right. Within this zone of subduction is a site of persistent spattering at the southeast edge of the lava lake, visible at the right edge of the photograph. On the morning of January 7 when this photo was taken, the lake was about 35 m or 114 ft below the rim. Right: Zoomed-in view of the spattering at the southeast corner of the lava lake. The vent wall is overhung in this area.

January 4, 2016 — Kīlauea


Another small explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake

On January 4, a rockfall within the Overlook vent at the summit of Kīlauea generated another small explosive event at 3:18 a.m., HST. In this image, captured by a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam, the dusty gas plume can be seen rising from the vent after rocks impacted the lava lake. Incandescence from molten lava exposed by the disrupted lava lake surface lit up the vent wall and the night sky above Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

January 2, 2016 — Kīlauea


Rockfall triggers small explosive event in Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake

Around 2:17 p.m., HST, on January 2, a rockfall from the east rim of the Overlook vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea impacted the lava lake, generating a small explosive event captured by HVO webcams. This Quicktime movie shows the rockfall as seen from HVO and Jaggar Museum.

This Quicktime movie shows the same rockfall as captured by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam perched on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Note the fragments of molten lava flying toward the camera—just one of the hazards that led to the closure of this area.

Left: In this photo of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake, the light-colored rock in the vent wall to the left of the spattering lava shows were a rockfall occurred on January 2. The shadow of the gas plume appears as a brown streak perpendicular to the dark-colored lava on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. HVO and Jaggar Museum are visible on top of the caldera wall (upper left). Right: Fragments of molten lava were thrown on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the January 2 explosive event. This close-up shows the dust and small rock particles that adhered to the surface of these fragments as they were thrown upward through the ashy plume.

December 30, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; some activity at forest boundary

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest activity about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Some of these breakouts are active along the northern boundary of the flow field, and are burning several small patches of forest - creating the smoke plumes visible near the center of the photograph.

Left: The breakout that began in late November continues to feed lava to the northern boundary of the flow field via a new lava tube. The trace of this new tube is easily visible in the thermal images. This view looks northeast, and the breakouts along the forest boundary are visible near the top edge of the photograph. Right: An HVO geologist collects a molten lava sample for chemical analysis, scooping up a bit with the rock hammer to then drop in the water bucket to quench it. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the distance.

A clear day at Kīlauea's summit

This view shows the north rim of Kīlauea Caldera, with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum perched at the rim for ideal views of summit activity. Mauna Kea is in the distance, partially obscured by clouds, and Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone extends off the left edge of the photo.

The sun angle was ideal this morning to show the complex texture on the surface of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea's summit. Spattering was active in the southeast portion of the lake. For scale, the lake is about 230 meters or 755 feet across.

December 17, 2015 — Kīlauea


November 25 breakout advances; New vent opens on northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest. While the front of the flow is about 3 km (1.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, it has a long way to go to catch up to the surface flows that have persisted for the last several weeks about 3 km (1.9 miles) farther to the northeast.

A new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō during the first week of December. This is the incandescent, fuming trio of holes just below and to the left of center in the accompanying image. While this spot happens to coincide with the trend of a tube that was last active in early 2014, aerial views into the opening suggest lava is welling up from below and not "flowing" like lava in a tube (there is no apparent lava reappearing downslope). Thus, our current interpretation is that this is a new vent that happened to open into the area of this abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface. Our interpretation may change, however, as our view into the vent improves, assuming that the opening continues to widen.

Left: This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below. Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right. Right: A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 5 m (16 ft) below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.

December 3, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts continue northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō; November 25 breakout remains active

Scattered breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and the farthest reach of active breakouts today was 5.9 km (3.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A minor change on the flow field occurred last week, with a breakout from the tube on November 25 that created a small flow that remains active today. This November 25 breakout is easily visible as the lighter colored area extending to the bottom of the photo. The breakout point is visible by the thick fume on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Left: A closer look at the breakout point where lava emerged from the tube on November 25. A few skylights provide views of the lava in the new lava tube that formed over the past week on this flow. Right: A very close view of the active pāhoehoe toes on the margin of the November 25 breakout. A fresh lava sample was collected from this spot with a rock hammer today. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the distance.

All that remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa can be seen in this photograph, with only the peaks of the formerly prominent forested cinder cone visible. This cone has been buried by lava from the June 27th flow over the past year. In the upper left a small hornito can be seen.

Left: A fascinating cross section of a hornito was revealed recently, when a partial collapse provided a window into a portion of an abandoned lava tube. The void space behind the geologist was filled with lava at some point, with lava and gas forced through the narrow crack in the center of the photograph. This ejected bits of spatter, which solidified around the opening and built a tall hornito. Right: A few small vents are active in the southern portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. These erupted a small flow onto the crater floor recently.

November 12, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Though heavy rains prevented a detailed survey today, there was little change in activity observed on today's overflight. As with previous weeks, most breakouts are active within the existing boundaries of the June 27th lava flow, with no major expansion of the flow margins. This photo shows a typical breakout, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the distance.

October 28, 2015 — Kīlauea


Halemaʻumaʻu during October 16 lightning storm

Left: A time-lapse camera located in HVO's observation tower captured these interesting images of Halemaʻumaʻu during an intense lightning storm at Kīlauea's summit on October 16. Image captured at 11:36 PM. Right: Image captured at 11:43 PM.