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Kilauea

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Images and Chronology
Looking for images you could swear you saw here but can't find now? Check Image Archive

Note: Starting with the May 18, 2007 posting, clicking the thumbnails will download the original digital image. You may need to reset your browser to "Resize large images to fit in the browser window".

18 May 2007

Pu?u ?O?o crater and MLK vent

The East Pond vent has been an open pit with a roiling lava pond at the bottom since late March 2005. The level of the pond in the pit has been relatively consistent for about the last year, at a depth estimated at 20-22 meters (about 65-70 feet) below the rim of the pit. In early May, that level rose by several meters, but by May 18 the level was back down to its typical level.
For the last several months, small lava flows, from a nameless vent at the edge of Pu`u `O?o cone just north of MLK vent, have periodically poured down onto the floor of the MLK pit.
Left. The East Pond vent, located on the eastern side of Pu?u ?O?o crater, has been one of the main vents at Pu?u ?O?o for several years. The East Pond vent has been an open pit with a roiling lava pond at the bottom since late March 2005. The level of the pond in the pit has been relatively consistent for about the last year, at a depth estimated at 20-22 meters (about 65-70 feet) below the rim of the pit. In early May, that level rose by several meters, but by May 18 the level was back down to its typical level. Right. The MLK vent first became active in January 2004, and has undergone an interesting metamorphosis into the pit, surrounded by deep cracks, that exists there now. For the last several months, small lava flows, from a nameless vent at the edge of Pu?u ?O?o cone just north of MLK vent, have periodically poured down onto the floor of the MLK pit. These are the overlapping, dark-colored flows just left of center in this image. In the past week, there was also a small flow from an incandescent hole that recently appeared on the north side of the MLK pit. The incandescent hole and new flow are dead-center in the image.

Lava flows from upper PKK tube

On May 18, a fairly large lava flow was breaking out from the PKK lava tube about 400 meters down-tube from the head of the PKK tube.
This photo, taken from above the breakout point, shows the lava flow from the Petunia skylight area in more detail.
Left. On May 18, a fairly large lava flow was breaking out from the PKK lava tube about 400 meters down-tube from the head of the PKK tube. The breakout point was at the site of an old skylight called the Petunia skylight. Several streams of lava were coursing down-slope onto the gently sloping lava surface of what we typically call the upper flow field. The upper flow field extends from the base of the lava shield built up around Pu?u ?O?o to the top of Pulama pali. Right. This photo, taken from above the breakout point, shows the lava flow from the Petunia skylight area in more detail.

Kamokuna and Poupou ocean entries

The Kamokuna entry, in the foreground, continues to hang on and was putting up a tiny plume on May 18. It is already overshadowed by the new entry at Poupou, about 1.6 km (about 1 mile)  to the east.
The Poupou entry, named for the long-buried archeological site that was located in this area, started up on May 16. By May 18, lava was cascading over the sea cliff along 240 meters (about 800 feet) of coastline. The multiple streams of lava had already begun to built small lava deltas out from the base of the sea cliff along most of this length.
Left. The Kamokuna entry, in the foreground, continues to hang on and was putting up a tiny plume on May 18. It is already overshadowed by the new entry at Poupou, about 1.6 km (about 1 mile) to the east. Right. The Poupou entry, named for the long-buried archeological site that was located in this area, started up on May 16. By May 18, lava was cascading over the sea cliff along 240 meters (about 800 feet) of coastline. The multiple streams of lava had already begun to built small lava deltas out from the base of the sea cliff along most of this length.

11 May 2007 Partial Collapse Press Release

East Lae`apuki delta collapse

A partial collapse of the East Lae`apuki lava delta occurred between about 2:45 pm and 7:05 pm on May 10, 2005.
 This time-lapse image taken at 5:05 pm shows the large steam and debris plume produced by the collapse.
Left. A partial collapse of the East Lae`apuki lava delta occurred between about 2:45 pm and 7:05 pm on May 10, 2007. This 6.5 hectare (16 acre) collapse took a pronounced bite out of the western side of the delta. The collapse embayment is seen in this photo. It is the narrow strip of ocean visible mid-photo between the two prominent points of land. What looks like an embayment in the foreground is just the view of the coastline in this area. Right. A time-lapse camera in the area, taking photos every five minutes, captured the collapse from about 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) away. This time-lapse image taken at 5:05 pm shows the large steam and debris plume produced by the collapse.
In this photo, glowing red rocks can be seen in new cracks on the sea cliff about 10-15 meters (35-50 feet) inland from the collapse embayment.
This photo shows a small part of the debris field produced during the collapse. The larger rocks in the picture are volleyball-sized.
Left. No active lava has been seen at East Lae`apuki since mid-March. Lava is a remarkable insulator, though, and only a few meters below the lava surface the rocks are still extremely hot. In this photo, glowing red rocks can be seen in new cracks on the sea cliff about 10-15 meters (35-50 feet) inland from the collapse embayment. This residual heat caused an explosive interaction between the collapsing delta and sea water. Right. Fist-sized rocks were blown up to 140 meters inland (460 feet) from the edge of the embayment. A basketball-sized rock was tossed 120 meters (394 ft) inland. This photo shows a small part of the debris field produced during the collapse. The larger rocks in the picture are volleyball-sized.

4 May 2007

Pu?u ?O?o crater vents

On May 4, the level of the pond appeared to be somewhat higher than usual, perhaps 16 to 18 meters (50 to 60 ft) below the rim of the vent. The jagged, incandescent lines across the pond surface are essentially tears showing active spreading in the pond?s crust.
 This view, looking roughly north, shows the South Wall complex at the base of the cliff in the foreground, the two spatter cones of the January vent behind that, and the East Pond vent pit just beyond the January vent cones.
Left. The East Pond vent, the eastern-most vent in Pu?u ?O?o crater, has hosted a lava pond for the last couple of years. The pond has been visible since the spatter cones topping the vent collapsed to form a pit and reveal the lava pond below. The East Pond vent pit is about 30 meters (100 ft) long and about 20 meters (65 ft) across. The surface of the pond has typically been about 20 meters (65 ft) below the rim of the pit, with a natural variation of a few meters either way. On May 4, the level of the pond appeared to be somewhat higher than usual, perhaps 16 to 18 meters (50 to 60 ft) below the rim of the vent. The jagged, incandescent lines across the pond surface are essentially tears showing active spreading in the pond?s crust. Right. This view, looking roughly north, shows the South Wall complex at the base of the cliff in the foreground, the two spatter cones of the January vent behind that, and the East Pond vent pit just beyond the January vent cones. The south rim of Pu?u ?O?o, from which this photo was taken, is very unstable and slowly collapsing into a huge subsidence feature that encompasses the South Wall complex, the Drainhole vent, the Beehive vent, and Dave?s pit (see the current Pu?u ?O?o cone map http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/update/maps.html). The highest point on the south rim of Pu?u ?O?o is the sharp point to the right. It is only a few meters lower than the true high point of Pu?u ?O?o on the north rim.

Flank vents and upper PKK tube

There are currently three pits on the west and southwest flanks of Pu?u ?O?o.
This photo is of the Uber skylight, a very noisy skylight about 400 meters (437 yards) southwest of Pu?u ?O?o.
Left. There are currently three pits on the west and southwest flanks of Pu?u ?O?o. They are the Martin Luther King (MLK) pit, just visible to the lower right; the Puka Nui pit in the foreground to the left; and the West Gap pit in the background beyond the Puka Nui pit. The Pu?u ?O?o crater is in the background to the right. The Puka Nui and MLK pits are surrounded by an outer crack system, and the two pits may eventually coalesce to form a single large pit. Recent, sporadic lava flows from the main Puka Nui vent, and from a vent in the tephra on the side of Pu?u ?O?o between the Puka Nui and MLK pits, stand out due to their black color. Circumferential cracks that ring the subsidence occurring on the south side of Pu?u ?O?o crater are visible within the crater beyond the obvious reddish-colored remnants of Pu?u ?O?o cone. Right. Recent activity along the upper Kuhio (PKK) tube created new hornitos in the past few weeks. This photo is of the Uber skylight, a very noisy skylight about 400 meters (437 yards) southwest of Pu?u ?O?o. Besides the incandescent hole to the left, there is also an opening on the back side of the hornito to the right. The latter is the source of deep booming noises that almost seem to shake the ground. Recent spatter blankets the area around the skylight.

Pulama pali and flow field

On May 4, as seen in this photo, two large channeled `a`a flows were reaching the gentle slope at the base of the pali. Pu?u ?O?o can be seen in the distance.
Flow activity continues at the base of the Royal Gardens subdivision with the small, but very active breakout just below Royal Street.
Left. After several weeks of relatively little activity, surface flows picked up again on April 30 with frequent streams of lava cascading down the Pulama pali. On May 4, as seen in this photo, two large channeled `a`a flows were reaching the gentle slope at the base of the pali. Pu?u ?O?o can be seen in the distance. Right. Flow activity continues at the base of the Royal Gardens subdivision with the small, but very active breakout just below Royal Street. All of the lower part of the subdivision has now been buried. An eastern branch of the Campout lava tube carries lava to this side of the flow field, and lava has been filling in this area for months. In the past few weeks, the front of this flow finally made headway toward the ocean, and was just over 700 meters (766 yards) from the sea cliff by May 4 (see the current lava flow map http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/update/maps.html).

20 April 2007

Pu`u `O`o flank vents and upper flow field

The MLK vent complex, located on the southwest flank of Pu?u ?O?o cone, is a shallow collapse pit with fuming vents along its east edge. The southeaster-most of these fuming vents is the near fume source in the center of the photo.
The two shatter-rings in the foreground are located in the upper-most breakout area. Other shatter rings, associated with the lower breakout areas, can be seen in the background on the left side of the photo. An old shatter-ring on the PKK tube can be seen in the background in the center of the photo.
Left. The MLK vent complex, located on the southwest flank of Pu?u ?O?o cone, is a shallow collapse pit with fuming vents along its east edge. The southeaster-most of these fuming vents is the near fume source in the center of the photo. The other vents are hidden behind Pu?u ?O?o cone to the right. Behind the MLK pit, in the background, is the Kiln hornito at the head of the PKK lava tube. Recent flows from the Kiln hornito show up as darker-colored lava around the vent. Two time-lapse cameras, recording activity associated with the MLK vent complex, are visible in this photo. Right. In the past several months, breakouts from the Campout lava tube have sporadically occurred from three general locations on the upper flow field. The breakout points at each of these locations are easy to spot due to the development of shatter-rings. The two shatter-rings in the foreground are located in the upper-most breakout area. Other shatter rings, associated with the lower breakout areas, can be seen in the background on the left side of the photo. An old shatter-ring on the PKK tube can be seen in the background in the center of the photo. The obvious skyline is the top of Pulama pali with blue ocean fading to sky in the distance.

29 March 2007

Pu`u `O`o and Flank Vents

Fresh lava on the west flank of Pu`u `O`o stands out in black.
Looking east across the 2005 Puka Nui pit, the dominant vent there can be seen fuming at the base of Pu`u `O`o cone.
Left. Fresh lava on the west flank of Pu`u `O`o stands out in black. In the past three weeks, there have been breakouts from the Kiln hornito, at the top of the PKK tube (left side of image), from a vent on the north side of MLK pit (right front of image), and from a vent on the east side of the 2005 Puka Nui pit (right rear of image). Right. Looking east across the 2005 Puka Nui pit, the dominant vent there can be seen fuming at the base of Pu`u `O`o cone. The vent is composed of numerous small, overlapping flows that have built a cone that stands about 8 to 10 meters high.
Lava that erupted from the vent just north of MLK flowed down into the MLK pit
The Web cam on the north side of Pu`u `O`o crater got a new tripod.
Left. Lava that erupted from the vent just north of MLK flowed down into the MLK pit, partly burying the floor of the pit. This vent, located in the tephra at the base of Pu`u `O`o cone, formed in late January or early February. Right. The Web cam on the north side of Pu`u `O`o crater got a new tripod. The wooden legs of the original tripod were nearly rotted through and close to failing.

Ocean Entry and Surface Flows

The Kamokuna entry is the only active ocean entry
Lava continues to burn trees at the base of the Royal Gardens subdivision
Left. The Kamokuna entry is the only active ocean entry, though neither entry point is creating much of a delta. This is likely due to frequent collapse of the front of the delta, as suggested by the large crack cutting across the western delta (left side of image). Right. Lava continues to burn trees at the base of the Royal Gardens subdivision as it fills in all the flat area at the base of the pali.

9 March 2007

Pu`u `O`o and Flank Vents

Winds from the south provided a rare glimpse of Pu`u `O`o?s west flank.
A steeper view of the flank vents on Pu`u `O`o?s west side.
Left. Winds from the south provided a rare glimpse of Pu`u `O`o?s west flank. The West Gap pit is fuming on the left, the current Puka Nui pit is in the center, and the MLK pit is fuming to the right. Pu`u `O`o crater, of course, is in the background behind the west rim of Pu`u `O`o cone. Right. A steeper view of the flank vents on Pu`u `O`o?s west side. Again, West Gap pit is to the left, Puka Nui is in the middle, and MLK is to the right.

New pits at MLK

A new pit formed in a big tephra block just northwest of the MLK pit
A steeper view into the new hole on the edge of the MLK pit.
Left. A new pit formed in a big tephra block just northwest of the MLK pit between January 25 and February 8 (see images from February 8, 2007 below). The good winds allowed us to see into this pit, just left of center in this image, for the first time. The pit was plugged by new lava, but a small incandescent hole shows that lava is somewhere below. Fresh spatter dots the tephra surface outside the pit. An even newer hole adorns the northwest was of the MLK pit. It is the weakly fuming hole just above the very white colored tephra just right of center in the image. This small pit formed since February 22. Right. A steeper view into the new hole on the edge of the MLK pit. The bright glow of lava below is visible through the narrow throat of the vent. Instant death awaits those who venture too closely. And to think, this used to be a regularly used footpath around Pu`u `O`o.

Ocean Entries

Two plumes rise from the Kamokuna entry, which has been active continuously since December 26.
No entry points along the edge of the East Lae`apuki bench.
Left. Two plumes rise from the Kamokuna entry, which has been active continuously since December 26. Right. No entry points along the edge of the East Lae`apuki bench.

22 February 2007

Pu`u `O`o and upper flow field

clear views of Pu`u `O`o crater.
Shiny lava from recent flows highlight three persistent breakout points along the Campout tube above Pulama pali.
Left. Decent weather in the morning, which quickly deteriorated to rain, provided clear views of Pu`u `O`o crater. The East Pond vent, in the foreground, continues to host a lava pond. As usual, views into the other vents were obscured by fume. Right. Shiny lava from recent flows highlight three persistent breakout points along the Campout tube above Pulama pali. These breakout points are building low shields and are topped by crude shatter rings.

Royal Gardens and Kamokuna

Lava continues to invade the lower edge of the Royal Gardens subdivision.
Kamokuna remains the most vigorous entry having acquired that distinction in the last several weeks.
Left. Lava continues to invade the lower edge of the Royal Gardens subdivision. The lava is burning forest as it banks up against the pali here, while other active breakouts (the lighter colored lava) creep around on the interior of the flow. Right. Kamokuna remains the most vigorous entry having acquired that distinction in the last several weeks. Both entry points at Kamokuna are producing steam plumes roughly equal in size, but the eastern entry point has a much larger delta than the western entry point. This is mostly because the eastern entry has been built on top of an older Kamokuna delta constructed several years ago.

8 February 2007

Collapses at the cone and the coast

A small, new collapse pit formed on the southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o since January 25, 2007.
Steam rises from the ocean entry at East Ka`ili`ili.
Left. A small, new collapse pit formed on the southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o since January 25, 2007. This pit, located between the MLK pit and the 2003-2007 Puka Nui pit, formed in a large tephra block giving it a pronounced funnel shape. The MLK pit and the 2003-2007 Puka Nui pit have also both widened and deepened in the last several months. Right. Steam rises from the ocean entry at East Ka`ili`ili. Lava pours into the ocean in the middle of a large scallop caused by a recent lava delta collapse. An unusual seismic signal picked up by seismometers in the area suggests that the collapse occurred on February 6, 2007, at about 8:27 in the morning.

Campout flow continues to host breakouts

A large breakout from the Campout tube sends a river of lava down-slope.
As the lava flow traveled downhill, it turned into `a`a.
Left. A large breakout from the Campout tube sends a river of lava down-slope. The geologist next to the stream provides an often missing sense of scale. Right. As the lava flow traveled downhill, it turned into `a`a. This is fairly typical of flows of this size on the steep slopes of Pulama pali.

25 January 2007

Surface flows on the pali and coastal plain

A breakout from the main PKK tube above the top of the pali is feeding a surface flow that is advancing down Pulama pali.
Smoke rises where a finger of the Campout flow is impinging on brush near the west edge of Royal Gardens subdivision.
Left. A breakout from the main PKK tube above the top of the pali is feeding a surface flow that is advancing down Pulama pali. The flow is overriding a kipuka of older (brown) lava from earlier in this eruption. Pu`u `O`o is visible on the skyline, and fume rises from the Campout tube along the upper left of the photo. Right. Smoke rises where a finger of the Campout flow is impinging on brush near the west edge of Royal Gardens subdivision. The surviving streets of the subdivision are visible on the slope above the flow. The East Ka`ili`ili entry is out of view to the right.

Ocean Entries

Entry points are spread out along the edge of the East Lae`apuki bench.
The two plumes in the foreground rise from the Kamokuna entry, which has been active continuously since December 26.
Left. Entry points are spread out along the edge of the East Lae`apuki bench. The amount of lava entering the ocean here is on the wane, due to the new breakout upslope and the vigor of the Campout tube. Right. The two plumes in the foreground rise from the Kamokuna entry, which has been active continuously since December 26. The third plume, in the distance, is from East Ka`ili`ili. Both Kamokuna and East Ka`ili`ili` are fed by the Campout tube. Note the boat for scale.

New lava flow floors MLK pit

lava broke out of a skylight
The flow quickly fanned out to cover an area 250 m wide with fresh pahoehoe.
Left. The MLK vent complex on the southwest side of the Pu`u `O`o cone has produced a succession of spatter cones, collapse pits, and small lava flows over the past three years. The cinder-covered slope of Pu`u `O`o forms the backdrop for the two current vents. After several months of quiet, lava spilled from the incandescent vent on the right into the MLK collapse pit. Another fuming vent has formed in the sulfur-stained slope at center. Right. The view from the south edge of the MLK collapse pit, looking across fresh black lava erupted in the last 5 weeks.

11-12 January 2007

Breakout at East Ka`ili`ili

lava broke out of a skylight
The flow quickly fanned out to cover an area 250 m wide with fresh pahoehoe.
Left. Shortly before 1:30 p.m. on January 11, lava broke out of a skylight 155 m inland of the seacliff at the East Ka`ili`ili ocean entry. At the same time, viewers noted that the plume from the ocean entry died, indicating that all of the lava in tube was now being diverted into the surface flow. National Park Service photo by Greg Santos. Right. The flow quickly fanned out to cover an area 250 m wide with fresh pahoehoe. National Park Service photo by Greg Santos.

Overflowed Drainhole vent

 Lava stream heads for the seacliff.
the new lava flows from the breakout on the 11th include the shiny silver pahoehoe on the far side of the bench and the black flow in the foreground.
Left. Lava stream heads for the seacliff. National Park Service photo by Greg Santos. Right. In this aerial view taken on January 12, the new lava flows from the breakout on the 11th include the shiny silver pahoehoe on the far side of the bench and the black flow in the foreground. The breakout was still slightly active, but almost entirely crusted over. Tube-fed lava was once again feeding the entry point, where the plume rises at the water's edge.

More Ocean Entries

The enormous (58 acres) bench at East Lae`apuki is still growing slowly, although much of its supply has been robbed over the past few months by the Campout tube.
Steam rises from the Kamokuna entries, which have been active since December 26, 2006.
Left. The enormous (58 acres) bench at East Lae`apuki is still growing slowly, although much of its supply has been robbed over the past few months by the Campout tube. Right. Steam rises from the Kamokuna entries, which have been active since December 26, 2006. The Kamokuna flow branched off the west side of the Campout flow. There are 5 entry points spread out along 580 m of seacliff. All are forming benches, and all of these are less than an acre in size. The eastern side of the flow, in the foreground, spilled over the seacliff onto an eroded lava delta that formed several years ago.

Eruption-viewing opportunities change constantly, so refer to this page often. Those readers planning a visit to Kilauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes can get much useful information from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.


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Updated: 21 June 2007 (pnf)