HVO Photos & Video

Photo & Video Chronology

Latest Entries | Search (2011 and newer) | Archive (2010 and older)

Note: Check the Photo Glossary or a good dictionary for any terms unfamiliar to you. Looking for media you could swear you saw here but can't find now? Check the Archive.

November 24, 2014 — Kīlauea

Breakout remains active around ground cracks and well site

Although the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow, near Pāhoa, is inactive, breakouts persist upslope near the ground crack system and well site. The lava has advanced a short distance downslope towards the north (towards the right side of the image), following the west margin of the existing June 27th lava flow. The currently active breakout is visible as the light colored area, while the older portions of the June 27th flow appear darker.

Left: This view looks downslope towards the east. The active breakout is burning vegetation along its margins, creating numerous small smoke plumes. Residential areas are visible in the upper portion of the photograph, with Pāhoa in the upper left. Right: A vertical view of the lava flow in the area of ground cracks. Portions of the flow surface include numerous downed trees, resulting from the initial phases of the flow burning through the trunks, causing the trees to topple. Other areas of the lava flow are devoid of downed trees, and show areas where a second, or third, phase of lava burned through the downed trees on the initial flow surface.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the breakout active in the area of ground cracks. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. The thermal image shows the location of active pāhoehoe lobes scattered over the area of the breakout, with activity slowly advancing downslope towards the north (right side of images). The original surface of the June 27th flow is visible near the bottom of the photograph, and residual heat in the inactive lava tube marks its path downslope.

Elevations of various surfaces and features at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

When Puʻu ʻŌʻō began to form in 1983, the ground surface on which it was built was at an elevation of about 720 m (~2,360 ft). The Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone eventually reached a height of 255 m (837 ft), putting its top at an elevation of about 975 m (~3,200 ft). Because the cone has progressively collapsed since the late 1980's, the current high point, on the cone's northwest rim, has an elevation of about 890 m (~2,920 ft).
Filling of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater during 2013 and early 2014 brought the crater floor to an elevation of about 870 m (~2,854 ft). After the onset of the June 27th lava flow, a smaller crater formed on the eastern side of the filled crater floor. The solid floor of this smaller crater (it's not a lava lake) is at an elevation of about 840 m (~2,756 ft). This is the same elevation as the exposed base of the south flank of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone. The elevation of the exposed base of the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is quite a bit lower at about 785 m (~2,575 ft). The June 27th vent is at an elevation of about 820 m (~2,690 ft). The distance from the high point on the northwest rim to the south rim (from left to right in this photo) is about 300 m (~980 ft).

November 23, 2014 — Kīlauea

Small surface flow near crack system west of Kahoe Homesteads

One of many small pāhoehoe toes and surface flows noted by HVO geologists this morning in the area near the crack system where lava partially filled, and flowed out of a crack, around September 6.

November 22, 2014 — Kīlauea

Satellite image shows areas of active breakouts on June 27th lava flow

This satellite image was captured by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA's Earth Observing 1 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

Although the farthest tip of the June 27th lava flow, in Pāhoa, is stalled, this image shows that breakouts remain active upslope. These breakouts are focused in two areas. First, there is a breakout about 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Second, breakouts are active in the area of ground cracks farther downslope. The farthest tip of these breakouts has advanced a short distance north over the past day and was 5.8 km (3.6 miles) upslope of Apaʻa St. as measured along a straight line.

November 20, 2014 — Kīlauea

Breakouts remain active around ground crack system and well site

The farthest downslope breakouts today are still situated around the ground crack system, near the abandoned well site. The front of these breakouts was about 500 m (0.3 miles) northeast of the well site, and about 1.9 km (1.2 miles) west of Kaohe Homesteads. These breakouts were covering the existing flow and burning forest on its margins.

Left: Much of the active lava was covering the existing flow around the ground crack system, with small portions entering the forest at the flow margins. The activity in the forest triggered brush fires and frequent methane explosions. Right: An HVO geologist examines a ground crack into which lava was pouring near the flow margin, producing large amounts of steam.

November 19, 2014 — Kīlauea

Lowermost breakout in crack system north of abandoned well site

Smoke from burning vegetation marks the edges of small breakouts from the June 27th lava-tube system north of the abandoned geothermal well site (middle left). This was the lowermost breakout as of this morning, located approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) straight line distance from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Smoke and steam from breakouts upslope are also visible in the distance. Note yellow-colored helicopter for scale (middle right). Photograph courtesy of Volcano Helicopters, taken before 11 am November 19, 2014.

November 17, 2014 — Kīlauea

Stalled lava flows near Pāhoa and activity upslope of Cemetery Road/Apaʻa Street

Active breakouts from tube system near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa approximately 1.8 km (1.1 mi) downslope of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Photo is looking uprift, or toward the southwest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is on the skyline in the middle of the photo.

Left: A geologist takes a sample of molten lava and quenches it in a bucket of cold water to "freeze" the crystalline structure. Lava samples are collected once a week to track the chemistry of the erupted lava over time. Right: Geologists survey the cross-sectional area of the lava tube using Very Low Frequency (VLF) measurements.

Left: View looking downhill toward the stalled tip of the flow and Pāhoa Village Road. The transfer station is visible in the left of photo with stalled lava just within the boundary. No active lava breakouts were observed in this lowest part of the flow and below the crack system. Right: Burning vegetation at breakouts along margins of flow about mid-way down the flow field above the crack system. Photo is looking upslope toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Thermal images from Friday (November 14) to Monday (November 17) show the decline in activity levels around the flow front over the weekend. While sluggish breakouts were observed near the cemetery in Pāhoa over the weekend, these breakouts are now inactive. Furthermore, today there were no significant surface breakouts in the area immediately upslope of Apaʻa St./Cemetery Rd. Only one tiny hotspot was visible in this area, about 1 km (0.6 miles) upslope of Cemetery Rd., which might be a single small breakout. Although activity has stalled in this portion of the June 27th lava flow, the other photos from today (see above) indicate that new breakouts are present farther upslope on the flow field.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the new breakout near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa. The breakout consists of two separate lobes, with the longer, and more active, one traveling northeast along the base of the 2007 perched lava channel.

Left: In addition to the large breakout near Kahaualeʻa shown above, there was a series of smaller breakouts that appeared over the past day just upslope of the ground crack system, and about 8 km (5 miles) downslope of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Right: A comparison of a photograph and a thermal image of an HVO geologist sampling lava from the leading tip of the new breakout that originated near Kahaualeʻa. The recently active, but cooling portions of the flow (red and purple areas in upper left portion of image) have average surface temperatures around 300 C (572 F). The actively flowing area in the center of the photograph that the geologist is sampling from (yellow and white colors) has surface temperatures between 600 and 970 C (1100-1800 F). The lava hidden beneath the crust remains well insulated, and previous studies have shown the lava has temperatures around 1140 C (roughly 2000 F).

November 16, 2014 — Kīlauea

Sluggish breakouts remain active near cemetery, with additional breakouts upslope

Slowly moving breakouts were active a short distance north of the cemetery, and were 630 meters (0.4 miles) upslope of Pāhoa Village Rd.

Left: Inflation along the lava tube has created a long ridge with a deep, semi-continuous crack along the ridge centerline (right side of image). The peak of the ridge, by rough estimate, is about 4 meters (13 feet) above the original ground surface. This photo looked northeast along the trend of the tube, just south of the cemetery. The short section of uncovered road is the cemetery access road. Right: A close look into a tree mold on a recently active portion of the June 27th lava flow.

Earlier in the week lava reached the outer fence of the transfer station, sending several small cascades through the fence and down the embankment. Burning of the asphalt continued for several days. Now that burning has ceased at the transfer station, a closer look at these features was possible. Note that the lava which stalled at the fence line subsequently inflated to a height slightly greater than that of the fence.

November 15, 2014 — Kīlauea

Active breakouts persist on June 27th flow

The HVO field crew today reports that scattered breakouts remain active on the June 27th flow. This photo shows the most distant active breakout from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and the closest breakout to Pāhoa Village Road. This breakout was a short distance north of the cemetery and roughly 650 meters (0.4 miles) upslope of Pāhoa Village Road.

November 14, 2014 — Kīlauea

Breakouts remain active upslope of stalled flow front

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with scattered breakouts upslope of the stalled flow front. The closest active breakouts to Pāhoa Village Road were a short distance north of the cemetery, and approximately 700 meters (0.4 miles) upslope of Pāhoa Village Road. Most activity, however, was upslope of Apaʻa St./Cemetery Rd. A portion of this activity was focused along a lobe that was upslope of the transfer station, about 230 meters (250 yards) upslope of Apaʻa St.

Left: This photo shows a close up of the flow around Cemetery Rd./Apaʻa St. In the lower right, the partially buried cemetery can be seen. Just above the center of the photo, lava reached the southeast portion of the transfer station. The house destroyed earlier this week is across the street from the transfer station. The broad lobe of lava upslope of the transfer station was still active today, and moving through thick vegetation, producing smoke. Right: Another view of the Apaʻa St./Cemetery Rd. area, looking towards the east. Lava reached the southeast portion of the transfer station, but stalled. Two small breakouts were active near the transfer station today, but had not expanded the flow margin significantly. At the top of the photograph, buildings situated along Pāhoa Village Road can be seen.

This shows a comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the flow front. The white box shows the approximate extent of the thermal image. Although the leading tip of the flow stalled on October 30, breakouts remain active upslope around the cemetery, transfer station, and farther upslope. White and yellow colors in the thermal image show the areas of active breakouts.

A close up of activity near the transfer station, shown by a normal photograph and a thermal image. The thermal image shows the extent of active breakouts much more clearly than the naked eye. For instance, two small breakouts around the transfer station (marked by two arrows) are obvious in the thermal image but difficult to see in the normal photograph.

Increase in active breakouts around transfer station and cemetery over past week

These thermal images compare activity around the flow front on November 5 and 14, 2014. White and yellow colors show areas of active breakouts. On November 5 relatively few breakouts were active in this portion of the June 27th flow, with a few small breakouts near the cemetery and one breakout a few hundred meters upslope of the transfer station. On November 14, however, scattered breakouts were abundant in this area, with new activity significantly expanding the flow margins around the cemetery and a new lobe active upslope of the transfer station.

November 13, 2014 — Kīlauea

Transfer Station Lava Terminus

Terminus of the flow entering the Pāhoa transfer station. Compare to a similar image taken on November 11. There are no active toes of lava in the image, but the lava is still hot enough to burn the asphalt beneath, creating visible white smoke.

Breakout downslope of the Pāhoa transfer station

Breakout of pāhoehoe lava downslope of the house that burned on November 10. The photo is looking northwest.

Burst Tumuli

Left: As inflation occurs within the core of a pāhoehoe flow, a tumulus (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/images/pglossary/tumulus.php), or domed hill, can form. Occasionally the pressure within the flow can exceed the strength of the pāhoehoe crust, resulting in an outpouring of lava from the core of the tumulus. Lava burst from this tumulus, left side of photo along the skyline, approximately 35 yards downslope of the cemetery. A rocky block, presumably from the top of the tumulus, rests where the outpouring of lava began. Right: Another view of the burst tumulus, looking northwest. The rocky block is visible in the center left of the image.

Left: A view looking along the transfer station's outer fence, which lava burst through recently. Lava then flowed down the embankment onto the low access road (right side of photo). Right: An HVO geologist encounters a small brush fire along the margin of the lobe that was active a few hundred meters upslope of the transfer station.