HVO Photos & Video

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July 29, 2014 — Kīlauea

June 27 lava flow advance rate increases

The June 27 flow front has advanced more rapidly over the past four days, and is now 4.2 km (2.6 miles) from the vent. This recent increased advance rate is due to the confinement of the flow against the slopes of an older perched lava channel, from 2007. The advance rate will likely drop in the coming days as the flow passes the confines of the perched channel and spreads out on flatter topography.

Left: Another view of the front of the June 27 flow, looking northeast. The flow front has narrowed as it has been confined against the slopes of the 2007 perched lava channel, and this is associated with a higher advance rate of the flow front over the past four days. Right: View, looking southwest, of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the new perched lava pond. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the fume-filled crater in the top half of the image. The circular feature in the lower portion of the photograph is the perched lava pond active earlier this month, which was fed by the June 27 lava flow. This perched lava pond is now inactive, but the June 27 flows continue to advance towards the northeast (see other photos from today).

Visual-thermal comparison of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, looking west. In the normal photograph on the left, large portions of the crater floor are obscured by thick volcanic fume. The thermal image on the right can "see" through this fume, revealing features in the crater. Over the past month, a large portion of the crater floor has subsided. Within this triangular subsidence area, three small lava ponds were active today. Two are visible in this thermal image, while a third (near the South lava pond) is blocked by a steep wall from this angle.

July 28, 2014 — Kīlauea

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater at dawn

A time-lapse camera on the rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater captured this image at dawn. The view is towards the southeast, and shows two glowing pits in the southern portion of the crater floor. Our overflight the next day showed that these pits are filled with small lava ponds.

July 24, 2014 — Kīlauea

Movies showing July 23 explosive event

Movie from a webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, directly above the summit lava lake, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 1 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

Movie from a webcam positioned in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, next to Jaggar Museum, near the summit of Kīlauea, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 2 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

July 23, 2014 — Kīlauea

Rockfall triggers explosive event at Halemaʻumaʻu

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake. This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008. This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

Left: The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across. The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture. Right: As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock. The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Left: Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places. Right: The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

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).