October 20, 2016 Kīlauea
More reminders why the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater area is closed
Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake. The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, today (Thursday, October 20). The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public.
Today's explosion, triggered by a rockfall from the south-southeast wall of the summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, blasted spatter (molten lava) and rock fragments on to the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as on to the closed section of Crater Rim Drive, about a quarter-mile from the vent.
Following today's explosion, spatter (bit of molten lava) and fragments of solid rock littered this closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This section of the road, adjacent to the former Halemaʻumaʻu Crater parking area, has been closed since 2008 due to elevated sulfur dioxide emissions and other ongoing volcanic hazards, such as today's rockfall-triggered explosion.
Left: Spatter and "ribbon bombs" (stretched fragments of molten lava) up to 30 cm (about 12 inches) long fell to the ground surface on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the two most recent explosions from Kīlauea's summit lava lake. The black, glassy lava fragment shown here, about the size of a standard donut, landed amidst smaller, solid pieces of rock blasted from the vent. Right: A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.
October 17, 2016 Kīlauea
A brief overflow of Kīlauea's summit lava lake on October 15
On Saturday, October 15, Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake overflowed the vent rim between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., and again around 6:30 p.m., HST. In this image, captured by HVO's K2 webcam, you can see small spill-overs (shiny black lava) on the east (far left) and west (right) sides of the vent rim.
In recent weeks, the lava lake level has been rising and falling in concert with summit inflation and deflation (DI-events), with the lake surface often in view of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park overlooks. On September 22, the lake level rose to within 10 m (33 ft) of the vent rim, the highest level reached since the previous lake overflow in April-May 2015. Since then, the lake level has risen and fallen with multiple DI-events.
A switch to summit inflation on October 13 led to Saturday's brief overflow, which was soon followed by a return to summit deflation and a drop in the lake level. As of this morning, October 17, the summit lava lake level was 17 m (56 ft) below the vent rim.
October 7, 2016 Kīlauea
Eastern Kamokuna ocean entry
Left: With brisk trade winds today, spectacular views of Kīlauea Volcano's eastern Kamokuna lava delta were possible from outside the closed area on the east, or Kalapana, side of the ocean entry. Lava deltas can collapse without warning, as happened here this past week, causing explosions that can throw rocky debris and fragments of molten lava flying in all directions (inland and seaward). Visitors to this area are urged to remain outside the closed areaclearly identified with a rope line and warning signsfor their safety. Right: Using the telephoto feature on a point-and-shoot camera (from the same location as the left photo), this image captured lava streaming into the ocean at the leading edge of the lava delta.
Coastal plain skylights: reminders of the hazards associated with active lava tubes
Left: This skylight, a "window" into the active lava tube that carries lava from the vent to the sea, is located inland of the Kamokuna ocean entry. It is a sobering reminder why visitors are encouraged to remain outside the closed area, which Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has cordoned off with a rope line and warning signs. The Park reported that in late September, a skylight opened abruptly on the coastal plain just minutes after a couple of visitors had walked through the closed area. Right: It is possible to see the skylight without entering the closed area, and with a camera or smart phone, you can zoom in for more detail, as shown in this image.
Left: Another collapse feature and skylight along the lava tube that feeds the Kamokuna ocean entry, underscoring the hazards associated with active lava tubes and the need to remain outside the closed area. Right: A telephoto image of the skylight, captured without entering the closed area. Note the sagging lava surface in the foreground, an indication of just how unstable this area is.
October 5, 2016 Kīlauea
Typical spattering at the summit lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater
This photograph shows spattering at the southeast margin of Kīlauea's summit lava lake, as viewed from the west. This is the most common area on the lake to have spattering, but, because it is almost directly below the camera location, it is not visible in our webcam images.
October 3, 2016 Kīlauea
Continued spattering in Kīlauea's summit lava lake
This morning, spattering along the eastern margin of Kīlauea's summit lava lake built an overhanging ledge that was attached to the Overlook Crater wall. In this image, a few long stalactites can be seen dangling from the overhang (lower right). These stalactites were flexible enough to be swinging back and forth.
This video shows spattering in two locations of Kīlauea's summit lava lake. In the first segment, spattering is active in a small area in the southern portion of the lake. In the second segment, spattering on the east margin of the lake has created an overhanging ledge with dangling lava stalactites.
September 30, 2016 Kīlauea
Kamokuna ocean entry continues
Lava continues to flow into the ocean at Kamokuna, however this afternoon there was no noticeable plume at the western delta (upper left). The eastern delta (center) is larger, with lava continuing to enter the ocean. A relatively small area of surface breakouts is active on the coastal plain about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) upslope from the ocean entry.
Left: Photo of the eastern delta showing the cracks parallel to the sea cliff. The delta is about 350-400 m (1150-1300 ft) wide and it extends about 150 m (490 ft) out from the old sea cliff. Deltas are unstable, and prone to collapse, because they are built on unconsolidated lava fragments. Right: Thermal image of the eastern delta showing heat in the cracks, as well as plumes of hot water (up to 70 degrees Celsius, or 160 degrees Fahrenheit in this image) extending out from the entry points.
A large skylight was open today on the 61g upper flow field. This morning, only the narrow skylight on the left was open. Hours later the larger area collapsed and exposed more of the swiftly moving lava stream in the tube. In this image, the skylight is about 5 m or 16 feet wide.
September 28, 2016 Kīlauea
Halemaʻumaʻu at dusk
A view of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at dusk, taken from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu (closed to the public due to volcanic hazards). The view is towards the northwest, with the broad summit of Mauna Loa near the top of the photograph. The lake was 34 meters (112 feet) below the Overlook crater rim at this time.
This video clip shows the northern portion of the lava lake, where episodic bubbling commonly occurs. The northern margin of the lake is in the upper right portion of the photo. Note how the bubbling occurs in the same general area, regardless of the movement of the crustal plates. The video is shown at 20x speed.
September 27, 2016 Kīlauea
The rise and fall of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake
Since early September 2016, Kīlauea's summit lava lake level has fluctuated, as shown in these side-by-side webcam images. On September 10 (left), the summit lava lake rose to within 5 m (16 ft) of the vent rim, only to drop the next day with the onset of summit deflation. Since then, the lava lake level has been up and down in concert with summit inflation and deflation, dropping to 30 m (98 ft) below the vent rim on September 24 (right)and as low as 36 m (118 ft) the next day. For insight on what's happening with Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake and what it means, check out this recent HVO "Volcano Watch" articlehttp://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=456. To track the summit lava lake activity, please visit HVO's webcam images at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/cams/.
September 20, 2016 Kīlauea
Breakouts remain active on the coastal plain
Breakouts from the the 61g lava flow remain active on Kīlauea Volcano's coastal plain, roughly 2 km (1.2 miles) upslope of the ocean entry. This photo shows a typical lobe of pāhoehoe lava filling in a small depression.
This video clip shows a few of the lava breakouts active on Kīlauea's coastal plain on September 20. The activity consisted of scattered pāhoehoe breakouts. The final segment in this video is shown at x20 speed.
Kīlauea's summit lava lake on the rise again
Left: During recent summit deflation, the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater dropped out of view of overlooks in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. But since the switch to inflation early Sunday morning (September 18), Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake has been rising again, bringing the lake surface back into view. This morning the lake level was measured at 12 m (39 ft) below the vent rim, with sporadic spattering visible from the Park's Jaggar Museum Overlook. Right: This telephoto image provides a closer view of the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater and spattering on the lake surface.
September 16, 2016 Kīlauea
Views of the eastern Kamokuna lava delta
Under trade wind conditions, Kīlauea Volcano's eastern Kamokuna lava delta is more safely viewed from outside the closed area on the east, or Kalapana, side of the ocean entry. Today, trade winds were blowing the billowy white ocean entry plume, a mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny shards of volcanic glass, away from the viewing area. Noxious volcanic fume from the active lava tube, visible to the right of the plume, should also be avoided by staying upwind of the ocean entry, which today, was at this location.
September 12, 2016 Kīlauea
Ocean entry and breakout on the coastal plain continue
Lava continues to flow into the ocean at Kamokuna, with two main entry areas, both forming lava deltas. The eastern lava delta is the larger of the two, and today, a broad span of small lava streams entering the sea was creating a wide ocean entry plume. The smaller western entry was feeding a weaker plume.
Left: Another view of the ocean entries, with the eastern entry in the foreground. For scale, a boat can be seen in the lower left portion of the image. Right: A breakout from the base of the pali, which began last week, remained active today, with scattered pāhoehoe lobes near the eastern margin of the 61g lava flow. Fume from the lava tubes on the pali can be seen in the upper left part of the image.
September 10, 2016 Kīlauea
Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake exceptionally high
Left: Kīlauea's summit lava lake rose to within about 5 m (16 ft) of the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater this morning, before dropping back down slightly with the onset of spattering. This view, taken from the east edge of Halemaʻumaʻu, shows spattering at the south corner of the lava lake. Right: Zoomed in view of the spattering at the south edge of the lava lake. Note the black high-lava mark from this morning on the wall just behind the spattering.
September 8, 2016 Kīlauea
Ocean entry activity continues
Lava continues to flow into the sea at the Kamokuna ocean entry. This photograph, taken from the eastern margin of the lava flow, shows the eastern ocean entry site and the lava delta that has formed there. Today, several small streams of incandescent lava could be seen spilling into the water, with occasional small explosive bursts occurring in the surf.
September 7, 2016 Kīlauea
Kīlauea's lava lake at high level
On Wednesday evening (September 7), the lava lake at Kīlauea's summit reached a high level, about 8 m (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. This panorama shows the former Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook (closed since 2008 due to volcanic hazards) at the far left. Jaggar Museum, visible on the skyline in the upper right part of the photo, is a popular destination in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park for viewing the lava lake activity and spattering lake surface.
A closer look at Kīlauea's summit lava lake on Wednesday evening, around 6:30 p.m., when the lake was just 8 meters (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
September 6, 2016 Kīlauea
Beautiful morning at the summit of Kīlauea
Kīlauea Volcano's lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater rose steadily over the past day in concert with summit inflation. This morning, with the lake level at just 19 m (62 ft) below the summit vent rim, vigorous spattering on the lake surface was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
September 1, 2016 Kīlauea
Beautiful day on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone
Left: Calm after the storma beautiful day on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone. Rain from Hurricane Madeline had little impact on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, shown here, or lava flow 61g. Right: View of the lava pond within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō west pit crater, which is about 50 m (164 ft) across. Weak spattering on the lava pond surface, about 23 m (75 ft) below the crater rim, is visible through the thick volcanic gas cloud.
Left: An aerial view of a new breakout (light-colored flow at center of image) from the 61g tube. The breakout began with some vigor on the morning August 29, but today it was sluggish, with only a few scattered pāhoehoe toes still active on the margins of the flow. Right: Close-up view of one of the small toes of pāhoehoe still active on the new breakout from the 61g lava tube, which began on Monday, August 29.
Left: View of the 61g flow field, from Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on top, left horizon) to the westernmost ocean entry at the coast, where lava spills into the sea, creating a lava delta. Fume emanating from the flow fieldon the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distancedelineate part of the active tube system that carries lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent to the sea. Right: A closer view of where lava is entering the sea along a 1.1-km- (0.7-mi-) wide section of the coastline. There is no evidence that high surf from Hurricane Madeline had any impact on the lava deltas that have formed, and continue to grow, at the ocean entries. Discoloration of the ocean water is caused by fragments of volcanic glass, which are produced when hot lava enters cool seawater and shatters into tiny pieces that are carried by currents along the shore.
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 Overlookamidst 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.
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 AprilMay 2015. At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 2226 m (7285 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.