HVO Photos & Video

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December 22, 2014 — Kīlauea


Scattered surface activity continues near flow front and farther upslope

Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow remains active upslope from the Pahoa Marketplace area, visible at upper left, though activity has waned over the past week. The flow was very close to a firebreak road cut several months ago. The Pahoa Transfer Station is at upper right. The view is to the southeast.

This compares a normal photograph of the active flow front with a thermal image. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. In the thermal image, white and yellow pixels show areas of active breakouts. The thermal image shows that small breakouts are present near the leading tip of the flow, and that many other breakouts are active upslope.

Left: A small, but fairly vigorous, breakout was active this afternoon about 1 km (0.6 miles) behind the tip of the flow. This is the narrowest part of the flow, with a width of about 30 m (33 yards). The smoke in the distance is from surface lava near the front of the flow. The view is to the northeast. Right: This photo shows a closer view of the picturesque breakout at the narrow section of the flow.

Left: Breakouts were also active much farther upslope. Leaks from the lava tube near the True/Mid-Pacific geothermal well site (at left) have been active for a couple of weeks, and are slowly invading forest to the north. View is to the west-southwest. Right: A breakout from the lava tube has also been active on the upper part of the flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō since December 5. The smoke is from a narrow finger of lava burning lichen on an older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flow. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is to the south-southwest.

December 21, 2014 — Kīlauea


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

This satellite image was captured on Friday, December 19, 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.

The upslope portion of the June 27th flow, near Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is obscured by clouds, but the downslope portion of the flow near Pāhoa is relatively cloud free. The image provides a clear view of the distribution of active breakouts on this downslope portion of the flow. Surface lava is active around the leading tip of the flow, marked as "active flow front", but a short distance upslope of the leading tip there is an absence of surface breakouts. About 1.5-2 km (0.9-1.2 miles) upslope of the leading tip of the flow, many scattered breakouts are present. This image emphasizes that activity on the June 27th flow is not limited to the flow front.

December 19, 2014 — Kīlauea


Leading tip of flow has slowed, but remains active

Left: Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow continues to advance downslope toward the Pahoa Marketplace. This photo is of a small breakout from the edge of the inflated flow several hundred meters (yards) back from the active front. Right: This photo gives the general appearance of the surface of the flow, looking upslope, where the flow is narrower on slightly steeper terrain. It is normal for trees within the flow path to not burn after they topple. By the time the trees fall over, the surface crust of the flow has cooled below their ignition temperature. The photo was taken about 350 m (380 yards) behind the tip of the flow. The flow was already inflated 2 to 3 meters (yards) at this location.

December 18, 2014 — Kīlauea


Active flow front continues downslope towards northeast

The leading tip of active lava on the June 27th flow continues downslope, through thick vegetation, towards the northeast. The active front this morning was 1 km (0.6 miles) upslope of Pahoa Marketplace, as measured along the line of steepest descent.

This photo looks downslope towards Highway 130. The leading tip of the flow has widened over the past few days, and branched into two fingers - both of which are heading in the same general northeast direction.

This shows a comparison of a normal photograph looking downslope with a thermal image. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. In the thermal image, white and yellow pixels show active surface lava, which is focused along the leading edge of the flow.

In addition to active surface lava at the leading tip of the flow, breakouts were active about 2 km (1.2 miles) upslope of the leading tip. These breakouts were scattered and feeding several small lobes.

Left: Even farther upslope, in the area of ground cracks, there were two small breakouts burning vegetation on the north margin of the flow. This photograph looks west, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen on the horizon. Right: Still farther upslope, about 3 km (roughly 2 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, scattered breakouts were active.

A comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image showing an HVO geologist collecting an active lava sample. The lava is quenched in the bucket of water. Lava samples like this are routinely collected for chemical analysis, which provides insight into the magmatic system feeding the eruption.

This Quicktime movie provides a brief aerial overview of the active flow front.

December 16, 2014 — Kīlauea


Active flow front continues northeast towards Highway 130

The active flow front continues to advance to the northeast, in the general direction of Pāhoa Marketplace. This morning, the leading tip of the active flow was 1.5 km (0.9 miles) from Pāhoa Marketplace, as measured along the path of steepest descent. Over the past week, the flow front has advanced approximately 2 km (1.2 miles), which equates to an average advance rate of 285 meters per day (roughly 0.2 miles per day) over that period.

This photograph looks downslope towards Pāhoa, and shows the active flow front moving through dense vegetation upslope of Pāhoa Marketplace and Highway 130.

A comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image of the leading edge of the active flow. Plumes of smoke upslope of the front mark the locations of scattered breakouts. The thermal image shows that active lava is focused along the leading margin of the flow.

Left: In addition to the active flow front, scattered breakouts were present about 2 km (1.2 miles) upslope, and consisted of several fingers branching a short distance off from the main body of the flow. Right: The leading tip of the flow has widened over the past day. Yesterday, the leading tip of the flow was roughly 80 meters (87 yards) wide, but today the leading tip was roughly 200 meters (220 yards) wide.

Left: A vertical view into one of the skylights on the lava tube upslope. A swiftly moving stream inside the lava tube confirmed that lava continues to be supplied downslope this morning. Right: HVO geologists walk over the lava tube on the northern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō while conducting a very low frequency (VLF) survey. Measurements are taken along a line of points (at flagged rocks) crossing perpendicular to the tube.

December 12, 2014 — Kīlauea


Lava continues advancing downslope towards northeast

The active flow front continues to advance downslope towards the northeast. This morning, the leading tip of the active lava was 2.6 km (1.6 miles) upslope from Pāhoa Marketplace, as measured along the steepest descent line.

An HVO geologist uses a handheld GPS unit to mark the flow margin coordinates. The flow field map today was updated by taking a series of GPS points like this around the leading portion of the flow.

December 9, 2014 — Kīlauea


Leading tip of active lobe continues advancing downslope

The leading tip of the active portion of the June 27th lava flow continues to advance downslope, and is 3.4 km (2.1 km) from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (as measured along a straight line). The front has advanced 300 meters (0.2 miles) since Sunday, December 7, and 1.4 km (0.9 miles) since our last overflight on December 1. The front is in an area of relatively flat topography, which may explain reduced advance rates over the past few days.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of the active lobe on the June 27th lava flow. Corresponding points are marked with letters for reference. Active surface flows were present at the front of the lobe, and there were numerous small breakouts scattered in the immediate area upslope of the front.

Left: A vigorous channelized breakout on the flow, a short distance upslope of the leading tip of activity. Right: A breakout was also present in the upslope portion of the June 27th lava flow, closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The breakout point was about 800 meters (0.5 miles) north of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, which is close to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The breakout began on December 5 from the existing lava tube, and this photo shows the breakout point clearly. The roof of the lava tube is a raised ridge formed by earlier (darker) portions of the June 27th flow, and the new breakout (light gray) broke out from several spots on the side of this ridge. The new breakout has several small solidified channels - where these channels intersect the ridge of older lava marks the breakout points.

December 2, 2014 — Kīlauea


Satellite image shows activity in downslope portion of June 27th lava flow

This image was acquired yesterday (December 1, 2014) by the WorldView 2 satellite, and shows the activity in the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow. The portion of the June 27th lava flow that entered Pāhoa in October is inactive, but a new lobe is advancing downslope a short distance west of the earlier flow. The leading tip of the new lobe is evident by its long smoke plume, caused by vegetation burning. A Civil Defense overflight this morning (December 2, 2014) showed that this active tip continues to move towards the northeast.

December 1, 2014 — Kīlauea


New lobe of June 27th lava flow advances downslope from ground crack area

The breakouts that began about two weeks ago near the area of ground cracks continued to advance downslope over the past week, creating a new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. This lobe is a short distance west of the earlier portion of the June 27th flow that reached Pāhoa. The new lobe advanced about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) over the past week, which is equivalent to about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day). A narrow lava channel was active this morning at the leading tip of the new lobe. The leading tip of this active lobe was 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (the intersection by Pahoa Marketplace).

Left: A closer look at the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the active lobe. The channel consists of both open sections as well as sections that are crusted over. Right: A small breakout was also active on the upslope portion of the June 27th lava flow. The pāhoehoe lava was flowing over an ʻaʻā flow from late 2007.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of activity on the June 27th lava flow. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. The thermal image shows the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the new lobe.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the narrow channel at the leading tip of the new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. The normal photograph is partially obscured by smoke from vegetation burning, but the thermal image can "see" through the smoke to show the nature of the channel in detail. Some sections of the channel are completely covered by crust (forming a lava tube), while other sections were open with a smoothly flowing surface.

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).
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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.

November 12, 2014 — Kīlauea


June 27th flow lobes active upslope and downslope from Apaʻa Street

Left: Lava continues to advance downslope in several places along the distal part of the June 27th lava flow, as seen in this photo. The most active breakout is the flow to the right, which forms a relatively narrow finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street. Other breakouts include a tiny lobe that is encroaching on the solid waste transfer station, the narrow flow that destroyed and bypassed the house across the street from the transfer station, and weak activity near the cemetery. The view is looking to the east. Right: The small breakout near the solid waste transfer station began spilling into the truck access road that loops around the transfer station. This road is quite a bit lower than the transfer station buildings, and it will likely take a few days for it to fill up, if the breakout remains active. The smoke at upper left is a different breakout, which destroyed the house just across the street from the transfer station a few days ago. The view is to the east-northeast.

This photo shows the distal part of the June 27th flow looking toward the southwest. The stalled tip of the flow is barely cut off at the left side of the photo.

Left: The house which was recently destroyed by lava is just below the center of the photo. Lava bypassed the garage, which still stands at the center of the photo. Lava briefly entered the fish pond next to the house, before continuing downslope. Also visible is the small active flow next to the transfer station, and the larger, more rapidly moving finger about 360 meters (390 yards) upslope from Apaʻa Street at upper right. The smoke at upper left marks another breakout widening the flow into the adjacent forest. The view is to the southwest. Right: Lava flows continue to encroach on the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, with the latest activity there coming right up to the edge of the green-roofed shelter. An inflated ridge 3–4 meters high (10–13 feet high) cuts across the cemetery (visible on the near side of the cemetery in the photo), and is the source of the recent and active lava visible at the bottom of the photo.

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of the June 27th flow. The stalled flow front exhibits lower surface temperatures (red, purple colors), as it has been stalled for over a week. Upslope, however, scattered breakouts are active and have much higher surface temperatures (white, yellow colors).

Another view of the activity near the transfer station, shown by a normal photograph and a thermal image. The white arrows show corresponding points of reference. The left arrow marks the tip of this small lobe (one of many active today), which was approaching Apaʻa St. Small cascades of lava can be seen flowing down the embankment surrounding the transfer station.

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