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Note: Check Photo Glossary or a good dictionary for any terms unfamiliar to you.

Images and Chronology
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29 December 2009

Awesome aerial view comparing Pu`u `Ō `ō with 2007

Portions of the northwest rim of Pu`u `Ō `ō have collapsed over the past few years, with the most recent known collapse this past October. Compare this photo from 2007 to the one taken today-the red line shows where the crater rim is now.
Comparison of this photo with the previous shows how much of the crater rim has fallen into Pu`u `Ō `ō crater over the past few years. The most recent collapse in October removed the summit of the cone, reducing the height of Pu`u `Ō `ō by a few meters (yards).
Left. Portions of the northwest rim of Pu`u `Ō `ō have collapsed over the past few years, with the most recent known collapse this past October. Compare this photo from 2007 to the one taken today-the red line shows where the crater rim is now. Right.Comparison of this photo with the previous shows how much of the crater rim has fallen into Pu`u `Ō `ō crater over the past few years. The most recent collapse in October removed the summit of the cone, reducing the height of Pu`u `Ō `ō by a few meters (yards).
Southerly winds offered decent views of the collapse pits on the west flank of Pu`u `Ō `ō. The TEB vent is the heavily fuming vent beyond Pu`u `Ō `ō to the right, and the active tube system extends to the right out of the image frame.
This is the upper-most of several active breakouts from the lava tube system that started over this past weekend. Pu`u `Ō `ō is at the upper right.
Left. Southerly winds offered decent views of the collapse pits on the west flank of Pu`u `Ō `ō. The TEB vent is the heavily fuming vent beyond Pu`u `Ō `ō to the right, and the active tube system extends to the right out of the image frame. Right.This is the upper-most of several active breakouts from the lava tube system that started over this past weekend. Pu`u `Ō `ō is at the upper right.
Two other breakouts are visible in this photo. The nearer is the lighter colored flow at the center of the image, and it is no longer active. The other is at the base of the pali just beyond and it continues to creep slowly forward.
The Waikupanaha ocean entry remains active with its typical white steam plume blowing inland. The Hawaii County viewing area is marked by the white dots just below and left of the image center. The viewing area trailhead is at the white structure at the far right.
Left. Two other breakouts are visible in this photo. The nearer is the lighter colored flow at the center of the image, and it is no longer active. The other is at the base of the pali just beyond and it continues to creep slowly forward. Right.The Waikupanaha ocean entry remains active with its typical white steam plume blowing inland. The Hawaii County viewing area is marked by the white dots just below and left of the image center. The viewing area trailhead is at the white structure at the far right.

28 December 2009

Spectacular Quicktime movie showing a draining event in the lava pond within the Halema`uma`u vent

This Quicktime movie shows a draining event in the lava pond within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity.  The lava column exhibited cycles of filling and draining of the vent cavity, with each cycle lasting a few minutes.  As the pond drains, lava cascades into a small hole on the east side (right) of the cavity floor.  Also, lava that was covering a large bench to the west of the main pond drains back, with large plates of crust sliding over the edge.
This Quicktime movie shows a draining event in the lava pond within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity. The lava column exhibited cycles of filling and draining of the vent cavity, with each cycle lasting a few minutes. As the pond drains, lava cascades into a small hole on the east side (right) of the cavity floor. Also, lava that was covering a large bench to the west of the main pond drains back, with large plates of crust sliding over the edge.

21 December 2009

Nightshot movie showing a filling and draining cycle event in the Halema`uma`u vent

Lava within the vent cavity in Halema`uma`u crater continues to be active, and occasionally displays remarkable filling and draining cycles.  This Quicktime movie shows the draining portion of one of these cycles, captured in 'nightshot' mode in order to see through the thick fume.  The video begins with a wide surface of chaotic, agitated lava, with vigorous upwelling and spattering.  The lava surface is about 30 m wide. Eventually, the lava begins to drain into a hole on the floor of the vent cavity, as spattering continues.  Each filling and draining cycle lasted about 5 minutes.
Lava within the vent cavity in Halema`uma`u crater continues to be active, and occasionally displays remarkable filling and draining cycles. This Quicktime movie shows the draining portion of one of these cycles, captured in "nightshot" mode in order to see through the thick fume. The video begins with a wide surface of chaotic, agitated lava, with vigorous upwelling and spattering. The lava surface is about 30 m wide. Eventually, the lava begins to drain into a hole on the floor of the vent cavity, as spattering continues. Each filling and draining cycle lasted about 5 minutes.

17 December 2009

Awesome aerial view of two active areas of Kīlauea, and Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea

An aerial view looking north at two active areas of Kīlauea.  Pu`u `Ō `ō crater is in the foreground, Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea (right) are in the background.  The fume source near the base of Mauna Loa (at Kīlauea's summit) is from the Halema`uma`u Overlook vent.  The wind is blowing the plume trace toward the northeast, partially obscuring the view of Mauna Kea.
Although there are no surface flows anywhere on the flow field, lava continues to flow through the Waikupanaha lava tube and enter the ocean.
Left. An aerial view looking north at two active areas of Kīlauea. Pu`u `Ō `ō crater is in the foreground, Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea (right) are in the background. The fume source near the base of Mauna Loa (at Kīlauea's summit) is from the Halema`uma`u Overlook vent. The wind is blowing the plume trace toward the northeast, partially obscuring the view of Mauna Kea. Right.Although there are no surface flows anywhere on the flow field, lava continues to flow through the Waikupanaha lava tube and enter the ocean.
South winds allow for a different perspective of the Halema`uma`u Overlook vent.
A beautiful example of sulfur crystals that have grown around a small fumarole near the southeast rim of Halema`uma`u crater.  The vent is about 0.3 m (1 foot) long.
Left. South winds allow for a different perspective of the Halema`uma`u Overlook vent. Right.A beautiful example of sulfur crystals that have grown around a small fumarole near the southeast rim of Halema`uma`u crater. The vent is about 0.3 m (1 foot) long.

2 December 2009

Cooperating winds show rare glimpse into Pu`u `Ō `ō crater

Thanks to cooperating winds, views into Pu`u `Ō `ō Crater were only slightly obscured by fume today.  These photos show a rare glimpse of the rubble covered walls and floor of the crater.  The piece of equipment on the rim of the crater is the Pu`u `Ō `ō webcam, which is available to view on the Webcams page of the HVO website.  The photo on the left was taken looking south, the photo on the right looking southwest.
Thanks to cooperating winds, views into Pu`u `Ō `ō Crater were only slightly obscured by fume today.  These photos show a rare glimpse of the rubble covered walls and floor of the crater.  The piece of equipment on the rim of the crater is the Pu`u `Ō `ō webcam, which is available to view on the Webcams page of the HVO website.  The photo on the left was taken looking south, the photo on the right looking southwest.
Thanks to cooperating winds, views into Pu`u `Ō `ō Crater were only slightly obscured by fume today. These photos show a rare glimpse of the rubble covered walls and floor of the crater. The piece of equipment on the rim of the crater is the Pu`u `Ō `ō webcam, which is available to view on the Webcams page of the HVO website. The photo on the left was taken looking south, the photo on the right looking southwest.
Aerial view of the Waikupanaha (large plume) and West Waikupanaha ocean entries.  The West Waikupanaha entry spans the coastline where the numerous small, wispy plumes are visible.  The entries remain active as lava continues to enter the ocean through both lava tubes and surface flows.
Aerial view of the Waikupanaha (large plume) and West Waikupanaha ocean entries. The West Waikupanaha entry spans the coastline where the numerous small, wispy plumes are visible. The entries remain active as lava continues to enter the ocean through both lava tubes and surface flows.

21 November 2009

Quicktime movie showing a small explosive event in the Halema`uma`u vent

This Quicktime movie (at x2 speed) shows a small explosive event in the Halema`uma`u vent at 9:20am.  The explosion was immediately preceded by a portion of the vent rim collapsing into the vent cavity.  The brown plume rises rapidly from the vent, and in the full resolution video large particles can be seen ejected in front of the plume.  In the video shown here, it is possible to see some of these particles impact the crater wall—look for several small white puffs to appear on the crater wall just ahead of the rising brown plume (about 7-9 seconds into the video clip).  No ejecta was found at the Halema`uma`u Overlook, indicating that few, if any particles, reached the crater rim.
This Quicktime movie (at x2 speed) shows a small explosive event in the Halema`uma`u vent at 9:20am. The explosion was immediately preceded by a portion of the vent rim collapsing into the vent cavity. The brown plume rises rapidly from the vent, and in the full resolution video large particles can be seen ejected in front of the plume. In the video shown here, it is possible to see some of these particles impact the crater wall—look for several small white puffs to appear on the crater wall just ahead of the rising brown plume (about 7-9 seconds into the video clip). No ejecta was found at the Halema`uma`u Overlook, indicating that few, if any particles, reached the crater rim.

20 November 2009

Three separate steam plumes merge into one at Waikupanaha

At the Waikupanaha ocean entry (left), three separate steam plumes merge into one as the wind blows the steam offshore.  The west Waikupanaha entry is spread out over a larger area with at least 5 separate lava entry points.  This photo was taken looking southeast.
Standing at the former time lapse camera site on the rim of Pool 1 of the perched channel, geologists measure the depth of the March 2009 collapse.   A hammer head was attached to a steel cable and lowered over the edge until it hit the floor of the collapse pit.  When the hammer hit the bottom, the cable was marked, and the depth was measured at 16.5 m (54 ft) deep.
Left. At the Waikupanaha ocean entry (left), three separate steam plumes merge into one as the wind blows the steam offshore. The west Waikupanaha entry is spread out over a larger area with at least 5 separate lava entry points. This photo was taken looking southeast. Right.Standing at the former time lapse camera site on the rim of Pool 1 of the perched channel, geologists measure the depth of the March 2009 collapse. A hammer head was attached to a steel cable and lowered over the edge until it hit the floor of the collapse pit. When the hammer hit the bottom, the cable was marked, and the depth was measured at 16.5 m (54 ft) deep.

19 November 2009

Quicktime movie showing lava within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity

This Quicktime movie shows lava within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity, at a depth of about 200 m below the vent rim.  The lava surface, with is about 20 m wide, is extremely vigorous, with constant roiling and semi-continuous spattering.  Spatter deposited on the walls around the lava surface creates a hot, unstable surface, which can be seen to disintegrate as large blocks break off and fall into the lava.
This Quicktime movie shows lava within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity, at a depth of about 200 m below the vent rim. The lava surface, which is about 20 m wide, is extremely vigorous, with constant roiling and semi-continuous spattering. Spatter deposited on the walls around the lava surface creates a hot, unstable surface, which can be seen to disintegrate as large blocks break off and fall into the lava.

15 November 2009

Open channel of lava and scattered breakouts at Waikupanaha ocean entry

A small open channel of lava was entering the water at one of two entry points at the west Waikupanaha entry area.
A small open channel of lava was entering the water at one of two entry points at the west Waikupanaha entry area.
This photo is looking east towards the three ocean entry points active today.  The most distant, and most vigorous, is the Waikupanaha entry, which has been active since March 2008.  In the foreground are two entry points at the west Waikupanaha entry area, which has been active over the past few weeks.
Scattered breakouts, like the one shown here, continue to be active on the coastal plain and are situated west of the main Waikupanaha tube and just inland of the west Waikupanaha ocean entry.
Left. This photo is looking east towards the three ocean entry points active today. The most distant, and most vigorous, is the Waikupanaha entry, which has been active since March 2008. In the foreground are two entry points at the west Waikupanaha entry area, which has been active over the past few weeks. Right.Scattered breakouts, like the one shown here, continue to be active on the coastal plain and are situated west of the main Waikupanaha tube and just inland of the west Waikupanaha ocean entry.

6 November 2009

Lava continues at Waikupanaha and surface activity at Kalapana access road

Lava continues to flow into the ocean at the well-established Waikupanaha ocean entry.  About 700 m to the west (up the coastline in this photograph), the new ocean entry puts off a small plume that is barely visible from this vantage point.  Surface flows (light grey flows) in between the two ocean entries were only 100 m shy of reaching the ocean, but did not appear active from the air.
Surface activity continued in several small areas above the Kalapana access road, burning more vegetation in the forested kipuka.  The trailhead to the county viewing area sits at the end of what remains of the access road, shown here at the top-middle portion of the photograph.
Left. Lava continues to flow into the ocean at the well-established Waikupanaha ocean entry. About 700 m to the west (up the coastline in this photograph), the new ocean entry puts off a small plume that is barely visible from this vantage point. Surface flows (light grey flows) in between the two ocean entries were only 100 m shy of reaching the ocean, but did not appear active from the air. Right.Surface activity continued in several small areas above the Kalapana access road, burning more vegetation in the forested kipuka. The trailhead to the county viewing area sits at the end of what remains of the access road, shown here at the top-middle portion of the photograph.

4 November 2009

Awesome sites at Waikupanaha ocean entry

Activity at the west Waikupanaha ocean entry, where lava reached the ocean this past weekend, continues.  The entry spans about 200 m, with many small lava streams entering the water.
One of the entry points, on the east side of the west Waikupanaha entry.
Left. Activity at the west Waikupanaha ocean entry, where lava reached the ocean this past weekend, continues. The entry spans about 200 m, with many small lava streams entering the water. Right.One of the entry points, on the east side of the west Waikupanaha entry.
On the east margin of the entry, lobes were advancing over a small black sand beach.
Breakouts continued near the County lava viewing trail.  This breakout, which is burning a downed hala tree, was about 300 m west of the trailhead.
Left. On the east margin of the entry, lobes were advancing over a small black sand beach. Right.Breakouts continued near the County lava viewing trail. This breakout, which is burning a downed hala tree, was about 300 m west of the trailhead.

3 November 2009

Several collapses exposed more of the lava deep within Halema`uma`u vent

Several collapses early this morning exposed more of the lava pond deep within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity.  For the last several days, glowing and spattering holes (top image) have been active on the floor of the vent cavity, at a depth of about 200 m below the vent rim.  At 3:06 am, a partial collapse of the floor created a single large opening within which lava was vigorously spattering (middle image).  The opening enlarged further with another collapse around 6 am, which improved the view of the circulating lava pond (bottom image).  These images are from the Halema`uma`u Overlook webcam, which can be viewed via the 'webcams' link at the top of this page.
Several collapses early this morning exposed more of the lava pond deep within the Halema`uma`u vent cavity. For the last several days, glowing and spattering holes (top image) have been active on the floor of the vent cavity, at a depth of about 200 m below the vent rim. At 3:06 am, a partial collapse of the floor created a single large opening within which lava was vigorously spattering (middle image). The opening enlarged further with another collapse around 6 am, which improved the view of the circulating lava pond (bottom image). These images are from the Halema`uma`u Overlook webcam, which can be viewed via the "webcams" link at the top of this page.

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: 1 August 2010 (pnf)