HVO Photos & Video

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August 25, 2016 — Kīlauea

Kīlauea lava flow buries more of the road

Left: Kīlauea Volcano's active lava flow continues to bury more of the emergency access route (Chain of Craters Road) in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Early this morning, slow-moving breakouts were oozing across the road on the west side of the flow. Right: Kīlauea Volcano's older "61g" lava flows have now inflated (left side of photo), creating jagged terrain that rises as much as 3 m (10 ft) above the road. Today, new lava (right) was covering additional areas of the gravel road.

This video clip, filmed on August 12, 2016, shows a typical pāhoehoe breakout on Kīlauea Volcano's "61g" lava flow (actual speed). Since the ongoing East Rift Zone (Puʻu ʻŌʻō) eruption began in 1983, the net result of countless pāhoehoe flows like this is that 142 square kilometers (55 square miles) of federal, state, and private land on Kīlauea Volcano have been covered by lava.

Back at the summit of Kīlauea...

At the summit of Kīlauea, the weather cleared, but inflation turned to deflation and the lava lake level dropped, so the spattering that had been visible from overlooks in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park the past two days is no longer visible today. But, it was a beautiful day to view Halemaʻumaʻu Crater from the Jaggar Museum Overlook! Although the lava lake surface was 32 m (105 ft) below the vent rim this morning, it's still likely that an orange glow from incandescent lava deep within the summit vent will be visible after dark.

August 23, 2016 — Kīlauea

Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake puts on a good show today

Left: In concert with inflationary tilt, the level of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake rose over the past day and was measured at 28 m (92 ft) below the vent rim this morning. With the higher lake level, and between passing heavy fog and rain showers throughout the day, vigorous spattering on the lake surface was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Because of calm winds, noise associated with the spattering could be heard from the Jaggar Overlook—amidst the occasional rumble from weather-related thunder. Right: Zooming in on the lava lake, a closer camera view of the spattering lake surface late this afternoon.

August 19, 2016 — Kīlauea

Measuring how much lava is flowing through the 61g tube

HVO geologist conducts a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube.

Aerial view of the Kamokuna ocean entry. Lava is reaching the sea along a broad area about 1 km (0.6 miles) long. In this view, the 61g lava flow is lighter gray in color compared to older lavas.

Kamokuna ocean entry remains active

Aerial view of the Kamokuna ocean entry and the Emergency Access Road cut by the 61g lava flow. 61g lavas are lighter in color than older lavas on the coastal plain. Upslope, a trail of fume marks the lava tube as it passes over the pali.

August 17, 2016 — Kīlauea

Aerial video of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake posted for your viewing pleasure

This aerial video footage, filmed by USGS in late July 2016, features Kīlauea Volcano's summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum, and the adjacent USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, are perched on the rim of Kīlauea's summit caldera (foreground of opening footage) just over a mile from the crater, offering spectacular viewing opportunities for Park visitors. Closer to Halemaʻumaʻu, black lava flows on both sides of the summit vent are clearly visible; these flows spilled onto the crater floor when the lava lake overflowed the vent rim in April–May 2015. At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 22–26 m (72–85 ft) below the vent rim; this morning, it was about 32 m (105 ft) below the vent rim. The summit vent, initially 35 m (115 ft) wide when it first opened in March 2008, has since been enlarged by numerous vent rim collapses and is now about 180 by 250 meters (590 by 820 feet) across.

August 16, 2016 — Kīlauea

Hazards associated with the Kamokuna ocean entry an ongoing concern

People who venture too close to Kīlauea's Kamokuna ocean entry—by land or by sea—are at risk from multiple hazards associated with lava flowing into the sea. The white plume formed by the interaction of lava and seawater is a corrosive mixture of super-heated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, all of which should be avoided. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) can collapse without warning. Should the lava delta shown here collapse, fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock would be thrown both inland and seaward, potentially impacting people on the cliff above the ocean entry and in the boat in front of the delta.

Left: The beauty of Kīlauea Volcano's eastern Kamokuna ocean entry can be enjoyed from a safe distance upwind of where lava flows into the sea. The eastern entry site (shown here) has created a lava delta that is now about 5 acres in size; as this delta grows larger, so does the risk of a sudden collapse. Right: Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

During a special media briefing today, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists (left) and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers (right) talked about the hazards associated with Kīlauea Volcano's active lava flow and ocean entries, the exciting scientific opportunities posed by flow 61G, and how visitors can safely hike to and view the beauty of lava flowing on land and into the sea.

August 12, 2016 — Kīlauea

Flow "61g" still active

On Friday evening, breakouts from the east side of lava flow "61g" provided good viewing for visitors who walked in from the Kalapana viewing area.

Lava entering the sea on the western side of flow "61g" is building a platform of new land known as a lava delta, which appears deceptively stable. However, the veneer of lava on the delta surface hides a foundation of loose rubble. As a result, lava deltas are extremely unstable, and they can—and do—collapse without warning. The white plume produced when lava enters the sea is a corrosive mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, and should be avoided.

August 8, 2016 — Kīlauea

Explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano's summit

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, August 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. A light-colored "scar" about 20 m (66 ft) across from this rockfall is visible to the right of the spattering area on the lake surface. Rocks in the vent wall can become unstable when the level of the lava lake drops, as has been going on for the last several days.

Left: The explosive event blanketed the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with a layer of tephra (volcanic rock fragments) up to about 20 cm (8 in) thick. The tephra deposit was thickest to the east of the former visitor overlook on the crater rim (shown here), where it formed a continuous layer. Bombs were thrown up to 90 m (295 ft) beyond the crater rim at the overlook and were deposited over an area 220 m (720 ft) wide along the rim. Saturday night's explosive event is a reminder of why this area remains closed. Had anyone been standing in this area when it occurred, that person would have been severely burned or killed by the falling debris. Right: Tephra blasted from the summit vent on Saturday night included lithic (solid rock) fragments from the vent wall as well as spatter (molten lava fragments) ejected from the lava lake. The light-colored lithic in the center of this photo is about 20 cm (8 in) long—the GPS unit is shown for scale. Tephra, the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter.

Left: In areas not completely blanketed by tephra from the explosive event, impact marks were obvious where large fragments of molten lava (spatter) had landed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, then bounced or slid to their current positions. In this photo, two large pieces of spatter, 45-60 cm (18-24 in) across, can be seen to the upper right and lower left of the GPS unit. The slightly smoother circular features to the right of these fragments show where those bombs initially hit the crater rim. Right: Volcano monitoring equipment installed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater was a casualty of Saturday night's explosive event. This pile of charred wires and metal components, surrounded by melted plastic, is all that remains of the power supply for one of HVO's gravity instruments located about 24 m (80 ft) from the crater rim.

August 5, 2016 — Kīlauea

Ocean entry widens

The Kamokuna ocean lava flow entry continues, and is approximately 250 m (820 ft) wide at the point of entry. The 61g flow pāhoehoe activity on the distal half of the coastal plain continues to widen the flow field.

Photo comparison of the emergency access road from July 25, the day the lava first crossed (left), and today August 5 (right). The flow is now approximately 200 m (650 ft) wide on the road and has inflated to a few meters tall (HVO geologist for scale).

August 2, 2016 — Kīlauea

Ocean entry less robust today

Left: During today's overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's "61g" lava flow, the ocean entry appeared less robust, with only one small flow of active lava streaming over the sea cliff. The second, smaller ocean entry point, west of this main entry (noted in our July 29 photo), was not active at the time of the overflight. Right: Upslope of the ocean entry, sluggish pāhoehoe lava continued to break out in several places along the margins of the flow.

July 30, 2016 — Kīlauea

Pāhoehoe lava oozes toward sea cliff

This morning, slow-moving pāhoehoe lava toes and lobes continued to break out from the active flow that crossed the "emergency route" gravel road on Kīlauea Volcano's south flank. Viewing these active breakouts requires a long (8-10 miles, round trip) and hot hike. It is essential for anyone attempting the hike to carry 2-3 quarts of drinking water per person. Sturdy shoes and sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) are highly recommended. Early morning or late evening hikers should also carry a flashlight and extra batteries. For more safety info, please visit http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/fs152-00/ and https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/photosmultimedia/lava-safety-video.htm.