HVO Photos & Video

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July 18, 2014 — Kīlauea


New crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Left: Since the onset of the "June 27 breakout" flow, the central part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's crater has been collapsing slowly. Thick fume and steam prevented good views, but this photo shows the edge of the ring fracture that bounds the collapse. The heavy fume comes from pits that formed where spatter cones used to be. The view is toward the east; the "June 27 breakout" flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume. Right: Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the pit formed on the southern side of the crater floor. There, a small lava pond roughly 10 m (~30 ft) across has been sporadically overflowing and sending lava toward the deeper central part of the crater. View is to the south.

Inactive perched lava pond and the new lava tube

Left: After the June 27 breakout started, a perched lava pond – looking something like a giant above-ground swimming pool – grew over the main vent. Notice the nearly flat upper surface of the now-inactive pond just above and to the left of center, and the relatively steep levee which contained the pond. The pond was abandoned after lava broke from a new spot near the west edge of the pond. That flow has begun constructing a lava tube, its trace marked by the fume to the right of the perched pond. The view is toward the southeast. Right: Here is steeper view of the inactive lava pond, just left of center. After it was abandoned, its surface crusted over and sagged to form a gentle bowl. Skylights and points of fume just right of center mark the trace of the new tube. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Terminus of new flow near Kahaualeʻa

Left: The front of the "June 27 breakout" flow, seen here as the silvery lava at lower right, is about 2.0 km (~1.2 miles) northeast from its vent (as measured in a straight line), and surrounds what little remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, a forested cone several hundred years old. View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. Right: Here is a closer view showing the beleaguered Puʻu Kahaualeʻa surrounded by active Pāhoehoe flows. The view is to the northwest.

July 6, 2014 — Kīlauea


A new lava shield is being built on Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The June 27 breakout has remained active over the past week, emitting short lava flows from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō's northeast flank. These flows have stacked upon one another creating a lava shield, which now hosts a lava pond. This before and after comparison from our webcam east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō shows the dramatic change to the skyline that this new lava shield has created.

June 30, 2014 — Kīlauea


June 27 breakout building a lava shield near Puʻu ʻŌʻō; Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is dead

The June 27 breakout initially produced a channelized lava flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa (about 1.5 km, or 0.9 miles, from the vent) during the first day, but over the past two days the surface flows have retreated closer to the vent, building a lava shield (visible just above the center of the photograph).

This comparison of the normal photograph with a thermal image shows the extent of the lava shield clearly. The lava shield is visible as the area of high temperatures (hot colors) in the thermal image. Corresponding spots are marked with small arrows for reference. The initial channelized flow that reached Puʻu Kahaualeʻa during the first day is inactive now, but still slightly warm.

Another look at the lava shield formed from lava erupting from the June 27 vent. The shield consists of a broad, and relatively flat, top with multiple narrow streams of lava flowing down the sides.

A view of the lava shield with the thermal camera.

Left: The lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has existed here for months, but it enlarged considerably during lava level drop and collapses that occurred with the start of the June 27 breakout. Today, the lava pond was about 35 meters (yards) across, and seven meters (yards) below the rim. Right: A view from the ground of the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Note the layering exposed in the wall above the pond surface.

Left: View of the wall above the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The lava pond surface is in the lower portion of the photograph. The dark hole in the upper part of the photograph is the truncated entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying lava to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. With the lava level well below the entrance to the lava tube, lava is no longer flowing into the tube and the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is now inactive. The lava tube here is about 2 meters (yards) wide. Right: A closer view of the entrance to the lava tube that had been supplying the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

This Quicktime movie shows activity in the lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. A lava pond has been here for months, but it enlarged considerably during the June 27 breakout as the lava level in the pond dropped.

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is dead

Until recently, surface flows were active in this portion of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, triggering small brush fires and creating smoke plumes. With the opening of new vents on June 27, the supply of lava into the Kahaualeʻa 2 tube was shut off (see photos of the tube above). There were no active surface flows anywhere on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow today.

June 27, 2014 — Kīlauea


New breakout on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Elevated pressure within Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone reached a breaking point this morning with magma intruding through the cone and erupting from fissures on the northeast flank of the cone. These new vents fed a vigorous, but still relatively short, channelized flow that had reached about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō by 11 am. This new activity was accompanied by minor sagging of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor, due to withdrawal of magma within the cone.

View of the sinuous channelized flow that is moving to the northeast. The flow front this morning was about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Left: The advancing front of the channelized flow northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The front this morning was 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Right: Thermal image of the channelized lava flow. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the image. The line of slightly lower temperatures down the center of the channel represents more intact (and cooler) crust, which is less disrupted than the lava near the channel margins.

This Quicktime movie shows the swiftly moving lava in the channelized flow.

This Quicktime movie shows a large chunk of lava being pushed by the current in the channel.

This comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image shows the distribution of activity northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Today's breakouts originated from several fissures on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, sending out flows to the northeast. These partially overlap with the existing Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, which had scattered surface flows this morning.

A closer look at the breakout points of today's new activity. The lava erupted from several fissures which broke through, and slightly uplifted, older lava on the cone.

Left: A very close view of one of the breakout points, with fresh spatter coating the older lava. Right: Another view of the spatter coating the area around the breakout point.

The withdrawal of magma from within Puʻu ʻŌʻō, to feed the new flows, has caused minor subsidence of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor since this morning. This was associated with small collapses at the spatter cones on the crater floor. A partial collapse of this cone revealed a small pond of lava just below the surface.

As noted above, the new flows have caused withdrawal of magma within Puʻu ʻŌʻō and small collapses of the several cones on the crater floor. Dropping lava levels in the northeast lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater caused collapses and enlargement of the pond, which has nearly claimed the time-lapse camera (left side of images) observing the lava pond.

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remained active this morning

Surface flows remained active this morning on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, but today's observations suggest that the new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō may have interrupted the lava supply to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow field. Observations over the next few days will be able to determine if the lava supply to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow has ceased.

June 17, 2014 — Kīlauea


The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Today, its most distant tip, in the foreground of this photo, was burning into the forest 7.0 km (4.3 miles) from its source at Puʻu ʻŌʻō. View is toward the southwest.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and the Northeast spatter cone

Left: The fuming spatter cone near the center of the photo is informally called the “Northeast spatter cone”, and is the source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Lava reaches the surface at that point and flows directly into a lava tube, which feeds the active flows downslope. View is toward the west. Right: While the top of the Northeast spatter cone is often open, revealing a small lava pond (see photo from June 6, 2014), today its top was sealed shut. This has happened several times over the past year, and is likely a temporary situation. View is toward the northwest.

Halemaʻumaʻu and the Overlook Crater lava lake

Left: The summit lava lake, its surface composed of solidified plates separated by incandescent seams, was about 42 m (138 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu today. The mostly destroyed visitor overlook is at the left side of the photo, on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. View is toward the west. Right: Spattering was occurring at three locations along the edge of the lava lake during today’s overflight. Spattering like this is common, can occur anywhere around the lake margin (though it most often occurs at the southeast edge), and repeatedly starts and stops. View is toward the southeast.

June 6, 2014 — Kīlauea


Breakouts remain active on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow

Summit deflation in May resulted in a decrease in lava supply to the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, with the flow front becoming inactive and stalling. Breakouts behind the flow front, however, remain active. The thermal image on the right shows these breakouts clearly as the yellow and white regions. The farthest active surface flows today were 6.5 km (4.0 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the upper left of the visual photograph.

The lava pond in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has built up a slightly elevated rim following several overflows over the past week. Today the pond was gently gas pistoning - a process that involves the cyclic rise and fall of the lava level due to gas buildup and release.

Left: Gas bubbles rising through the lava pond create small blisters in the thin flexible crust near the pond margin. Right: An HVO geologist shields his face from intense heat as he dips a rock hammer into an active pāhoehoe toe. After scooping out the lava it is placed in the water to quench it. HVO routinely collects lava samples for chemical analysis, which can give insight into changes in the magmatic system.

Good views of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

Left: Thin fume allowed good views of the lava lake in the Overlook crater, which is set within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea. The lake is roughly 150 meters (490 ft) wide by 200 meters (700 ft) long. Although spattering is commonly present along the margin of the lake, during our overflight no spattering was occurring. Right: A view of the summit lava lake from above, using a thermal camera. The thermal images clearly show the thin crustal plates that make up the surface of the lake. The plates are separated by hot incandescent cracks. The lake surface is constantly moving, normally from north to south (roughly from the upper-right portion of the image towards the lower-left).

May 22, 2014 — Kīlauea


Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, which began just over a year ago, remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Activity on the flow seems to have diminished slightly over the past two weeks, following deflation at the summit. Today, the flow front (in the foreground) was at 8.8 km (5.5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but the front had stalled with active breakouts present a short distance behind the flow front. The farthest active breakouts, at about 8.4 km (5.2 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, can be spotted by the small smoke plume just behind the flow front. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the distance in the left portion of the photograph.

On the left, a normal photograph shows the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. On the right, a thermal image shows a similar angle but in the infrared. Warm, but inactive, portions of the flow are shown by the purple and red colors, while the white and yellow areas shows active breakouts. As the thermal image shows, the flow front was inactive today, with the farthest active breakouts (also visible by the smoke plume) present several hundred meters (yards) behind the flow front.

A closer view of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front. The leading tip of the flow, inactive today, is in the upper right portion of the photograph. The small smoke plume is caused by active breakouts on the flow margin.

Left: Another look at the margin of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Small vegetation fires triggered by the active lava spread a short distance out from the flow margin. Right: A near-vertical look at the margin of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Numerous trees surrounded by the slowly moving pāhoehoe lava were burned through at their base, causing them to eventually fall over onto the flow itself. In many cases, by the time the tree falls over, the lava crust is no longer hot enough to ignite the wood, leaving a relatively intact tree resting on the flow surface. These fallen trees can make mapping the flow margin on foot very difficult.

A lone time-lapse camera, perched on a mound of solidified lava spatter, withstands thick volcanic fume and brutal weather to provide a record of lava pond activity in the northeast portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. This spot is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow.

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active

The lava lake remains active in the Overlook crater, which is nested within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The Overlook crater today was filled with thick fume, making visual observations of the lava lake difficult.

Another view of the Overlook crater, comparing the visual photograph with a thermal image taken from a similar position. The thermal camera can "see" through thick fume, providing an unobstructed view of the crater and lava lake. The thermal image clearly shows the inner ledge along the south wall of the Overlook crater, with the active lake surface well below the level of the ledge.

May 5, 2014 — Kīlauea


New camera position on Puʻu ʻŌʻō; The active front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow

Left: New flows on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater over the past few weeks threatened cameras positioned on the crater's north rim. Two cameras—a thermal camera observing the crater and a regular webcam observing the active Kahaualeʻa 2 flow in the distance—were moved to a safer location partway up the steep northwestern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone. Another webcam, regularly capturing a panorama of the crater floor, was left in place to maintain a consistent view of the crater. Poor weather and winds prevented the power systems for the cameras that were moved from being put into place until today (May 5, 2014). The cameras are now operational, and are visible in the background of this photo, beyond a spatter cone on the north side of the crater floor. Right: The distal tip of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, shown here, was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) straight-line distance northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō when mapped today. The flows advanced about 300 m (0.2 miles) since April 28.

Lava flow from South spatter cone; Puʻu ʻŌʻō's south flank slowly being buried

Left: A lava flow fed from a spatter cone on the south part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's crater floor (the South spatter cone) continues to advance toward the east-southeast, and is about 700 m from its vent. The flow is the silvery lava that crosses the center of the photo. Right: The flow from the South spatter cone has buried part of the southern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, leaving little of the original tephra that composes the cone visible. Compare this photo to the one taken just a few months ago, on March 7. The South spatter cone, feeding the flows that have blanketed the south flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is the prominent, fuming spatter cone just to the right of the center of the image, directly behind where the cone has been covered.

April 28, 2014 — Kīlauea


Lava overflows Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active

Lava flows from two different vents in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater have spilled out of the crater and down the flanks of the cone over the past week. This photo shows the new flow, easy to identify with its light gray color, originating from the south spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater (the spatter cone is visible as a bump on the crater floor). This flow was still active this morning and had traveled a short distance southeast. Another flow, originating from the north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, is not visible in this photograph.

Left: The north spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater fed a new flow, starting Tuesday evening, that covered much of the northern part of the crater floor and spilled over the crater rim towards the north. The right side of the north spatter cone has been present for many months, but the left side, which was spattering this morning, is new as of this week. Right: The lava flow from the north spatter cone ran over old cinder deposits from the early fountaining phases of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the 1980s. Cinders sticking to the front of the pāhoehoe lava were lifted up as the front of the pāhoehoe toes inflated.

The northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remained active, but the lava pond (featured in many recent photographs posted here) has crusted over, leaving only a small circular opening venting gas.

Left: A closer look at the small opening at the top of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. Although the lava pond is crusted over, fluid lava is likely present just a short distance below the opening. Delicate lava stalactites have formed just inside the rim. Right: The lava flow from the north spatter cone, in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, began on Tuesday night and came close to the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, where our webcams are situated. Because of this proximity, several of the webcams and other pieces of equipment were moved to higher ground on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Despite the recent changes in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater over the past week, the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and continues to advance slowly through remote forest. The active flow front today was 8.3 km (5.2 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible near the top of the photograph.

April 18, 2014 — Kīlauea


Kahaualeʻa 2 flow moving slowly through remote forest, spattering at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and is still moving slowly through thick forest. The active flows retreated a short amount over the past week due to a deflation-inflation cycle at the summit, with the farthest active flows today at about 7.5 km (4.7 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. These farthest active flows are evident by the smoke in the left hand portion of the photograph. The stalled flow front, in the foreground, is at 8.3 km (5.2 miles) from the vent.

Another view of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front, with a normal photograph at the left and a corresponding thermal image on the right. The thermal image shows the distribution of active pāhoehoe lobes clearly, with active flows shown by the white colors. This image shows how the active flows have retreated a short distance back from the stalled flow front over the past week.

In Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, a small lava pond (about 5 meters, or yards, wide) continued to be active and was still "gas pistoning" today. Gas pistoning is a cyclic rise and fall of the lava pond surface due to gas buildup and release. During the fall phase, intense spattering disrupts the lava pond surface and releases the accumulated gas. Each cycle lasted about five to ten minutes.

Continued lava lake activity in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

A closer view of the lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea's summit. The lake is now about 160 m by 200 m (520 x 700 feet) in size. The lava rises to the surface in the northern part of the lake (right side in this photograph) and flows towards the south (left). Cracks around the Overlook crater rim (right side of photo) suggest that future collapses of the rim will occur at some point.