HVO Photos & Video

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May 21, 2015 — Kīlauea


Puʻu Kahaualeʻa nearly gone; lava flow intersects old tube

Puʻu Kahaualeʻa has been buried slowly by the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption over the years, and the ongoing June 27th flow has nearly finished the job. The image on the left shows Puʻu Kahaualeʻa on June 30, 2014, a few days after the June 27th flow started (the ʻaʻā flow just behind the cone is from the early stages of that flow); the image on the right shows Puʻu Kahaualeʻa today (May 21, 2015) from nearly the same perspective. Only the highest parts of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa's twin craters remain.

The most distant active tip of the June 27th flow, visible at the left edge of the photo, was about 8.5 km (~5.3 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō today. This lobe of the flow intersected an old lava tube earlier in the week that transported lava a short distance downslope, where it emerged from skylights to make several small isolated pads of lava (center of the photo). The view is to the southwest, so Puʻu ʻŌʻō is well off in the distance beyond the top of the photo.

May 15, 2015 — Kīlauea


Kīlauea summit vent lava lake continues to drop

Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake continued to drop today (May 15, 2015). Measurements of the lake surface late this afternoon showed that it was 62 m (203 ft) below the top of the newly-created vent rim, a ridge (or levee) of solidified lava about 8 m (26 ft) thick that accumulated on top of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor from multiple overflows of the vent during the past two weeks.

HVO webcams captured a short-lived dusty-brown plume generated by a small rock fall from the summit vent wall at 3:24 p.m., HST, this afternoon (May 15, 2015).

May 13, 2015 — Kīlauea


Webcam images capture lava veneer falling into summit lava lake

This sequence of HVO webcam images of Kīlauea Volcano's summit vent, recorded between 1:28 and 1:32 p.m., HST, on May 12, 2015, captures the moment a section of the dark-colored "bathtub ring" (a veneer of fresh lava that coats the vent wall as the lava lake level drops) fell into the lava lake (center). The lava veneer collapse, which produced a visible cloud of rock and lava fragments, agitated the lava lake surface and exposed lighter-colored layers of older rock in the vent wall (right).

May 12, 2015 — Kīlauea


Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater drops with summit deflation

The summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has dropped significantly over the past two days, as Kīlauea's summit has deflated. The dropping lava level has allowed lava veneer on the walls of the Overlook crater to fall away, clearly exposing the contact between the original rim of the Overlook crater (which is the original, pre-overflow floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater) and the stack of recent lava overflows. These overflows are roughly 8 meters (26 feet) thick in total.

May 7, 2015 — Kīlauea


Summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains at high level

The lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea's summit, remains at a high level and close to the Overlook crater rim. Overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor have built up the rim of the Overlook crater several meters, and recent overflows are visible in the right side of the photograph. The lake level this afternoon was about 7 meters (yards) above the original (pre-overflow) floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Spattering was vigorous today in the southern portion of the lake. From this view, the spattering was hidden behind a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall, but airborne spatter can be seen in the bottom left portion of the photo. The summit of Mauna Loa can be seen in the upper right.

This Quicktime movie shows spattering at the margin of the summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Spattering has been common at the lake, and when it occurs is easily visible from the public viewing area at Jaggar Museum. This video shows a closer view from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, which is closed to the public due to volcanic hazards.

May 5, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts continue northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with breakouts focused in several areas northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The farthest downslope activity observed on today's overflight was roughly 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photograph shows one of the active breakouts closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

One of several lobes on the June 27th flow that was at the forest boundary today, burning vegetation northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains at high level

Over the past week, the summit lava lake in the Overlook crater rose and spilled out onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, creating the dark flows in the south part of Halemaʻumaʻu (left side of crater from this direction). The extent of the lake itself, set within the Overlook crater, is slightly difficult to distinguish from this view but the spattering at the lake margin is visible. The overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor, not counting the area of the lake itself, total about 11 hectares (28 acres).

Left: A closer look at the lava lake and overflows on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The outline of the Overlook crater, and the active lake, is easier to distinguish in this view. Right: From this angle, the extent of the lava lake within the Overlook crater is much easier to distinguish from the surrounding overflows. The closed Halemaʻumaʻu parking lot is in the right side of the photograph.

May 3, 2015 — Kīlauea


Rockfall triggers small explosive event at summit lava lake

A portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall collapsed at 1:20 pm today, impacting the lava lake and triggering a small explosion of spatter and a robust particle-laden plume. Fist-size clasts were deposited around the closed Halemaʻumaʻu visitor overlook.

A sequence of still images taken from the webcam positioned at the closed Halemaʻumaʻu overlook, spanning about six seconds. The collapse originated from a portion of the wall directly below the webcam, but just out of view. Large pieces of molten spatter can be seen flying through the air and being deposited on the crater walls below the camera.

This Quicktime movie shows a small explosive event that occurred at 1:20pm today at the summit lava lake. A collapse of a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall impacted the lake and triggered an explosion of spatter. Fist-size clasts were found scattered along the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater near the closed visitor overlook.

April 30, 2015 — Kīlauea


Summit lava lake level remains high

Following several episodes of lava overflowing onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, the lava lake level remains high, and close to the rim of the Overlook crater. This photograph was taken from the southern rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, where a time-lapse camera keeps watch on the lava lake and overflow activity. The recent overflows are visible in the center of the photograph. HVO and Jaggar Museum are on the high point on the skyline near the top-center portion of the photograph. Mauna Loa is in the upper left portion of the photograph.

April 29, 2015 — Kīlauea


Summit lava lake overflows vent rim

Photo from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu showing the lava lake in the completely filled Overlook crater. Repeated overflows are beginning to construct levees around the lake, such that the level of the lake is now perched about 2 m (7 ft) above the original floor of Halemaʻumaʻu.

Left: Photo of the overflowing lava lake taken from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. Right: Identical to photo at left, but with labels. The dashed white line indicates the lava lake rim.

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake, which was about 12 m (40 ft) below the vent rim on April 25 (left), overflowed the vent rim for the first time at about 9:40 p.m., HST, on April 28. As of noon on April 29 (right), the lava lake had overflowed the vent rim several more times. These Webcam images capture the summit vent before and after the overflows.

An early morning view of the lava lake with a recent overflow onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

April 28, 2015 — Kīlauea


Lava lake level remains high, rockfall triggers explosive event

A rockfall from the wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater impacted the lava lake around 10:20 am, triggering an explosion of spatter and smaller particles. HVO geologists working on the far side of the crater captured the initial moments of the plume rising. The explosion deposited a large amount of spatter around the closed Halemaʻumaʻu visitor overlook.

Quicktime movie of the rockfall and subsequent explosion at 10:20 a.m., HST, on April 28, 2015. Rocks falling into the summit lava lake generated an explosion that threw large fragments of molten lava onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, 85 m (280 ft) above the lake. These fragments pose a significant hazard, and are one reason this area remains closed.

Left: A closer look at the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater overlook. The large boulders were ejected during the 1924 explosion, but today's explosive event carpeted the ground with many large pieces of brown spatter. Right: A close look at one of the large pieces of spatter thrown onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater by today's explosion (keys are for scale). The spatter hit the ground in a semi-fluid state, deforming on impact. The small, multi-colored particles incorporated in the spatter are fragments of the altered crater wall that collapsed into the lake, while the brown spatter represents fresh lava from the lake.

Left: The explosion threw spatter that hit the remaining fencing on the Halemaʻumaʻu overlook, partly burning it. Keys for scale. Right: Portions of the Halemaʻumaʻu overlook fencing were knocked down by previous explosive events, and also by the wind over the past several years. The downed fencing, shown smoldering here, was then ignited by hot spatter from today's explosive event.

Left: Spatter from the explosion also landed on the Halemaʻumaʻu webcam, melting some of the wire insulation but not enough to interrupt its operation. Right: Gas in the lava lake was rapidly released during the 10:20 am explosive event, causing the lava lake surface to drop a few meters (yards). This photo was taken moments after the explosive event, and shows the overhanging ledge of lava along the rim that was exposed as the lava level dropped.

Early this morning, prior to the explosive event at 10:20 am, the lake was close to the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, with spattering along the lake margin.

April 26, 2015 — Kīlauea


Lava lake reaches new high level

Left: This photo shows the lava lake in the Overlook crater this morning, when it reached to within 3 m (10 ft) of the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu. This is the highest the lava lake has reached during the current summit eruption. Right: This photo shows another view of the lava lake, from a different perspective, when it was at its highest level.

Left: This is a view of spattering at the east corner of the lava lake this morning. Right: Another view of spattering this morning.

April 25, 2015 — Kīlauea


Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake continues to rise

Left: The lava lake within the Overlook crater in Halemaʻumaʻu, at Kīlauea volcano, continues to rise. It was measured at 12 m (~39 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu at about 8 AM this morning, when this photo was taken. Right: This grainy evening photo shows the lake at 6:30 PM, when it was a mere 7 m (23 ft) below the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor.

This photo, taken at mid-day, shows the lava lake as seen from the west side of Halemaʻumaʻu, which offers a different perspective. The lava lake was about 10 m (33 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu at this time.

April 24, 2015 — Kīlauea


Rising lava level in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

The level of the lava lake within the Overlook crater, set within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, continues to rise. Today, the level was as high as 14 meters (46 feet) below the Overlook crater rim. This photograph was taken from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, in an area closed to the public due to volcanic hazards, but the lava level was high enough today that the lava lake surface could be seen from Jaggar Overlook, which is open to the public.

The lava lake in the Overlook Crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, has been rising over the past few days. Today the lava was as high as 14 meters (46 feet) below the Overlook crater rim. Several areas of spattering were active along the lake margin.

April 23, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts continue northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts on the June 27th lava flow remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A new, small, breakout appeared recently from the tube adjacent to Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, the small forested cone near the center of the photograph. The new breakout is the light-colored curved flow in the left portion of the photograph. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

Left: The farthest active breakout on the June 27th flow reached about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The tip of this breakout was narrow and burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph. Right: A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

Left: The June 27th flow covers much of the top of the photograph, and recent expansion of the flow margins has sent lava cascading into one of the ponds on the 2007 perched lava channel. This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration. Right: Over the past week small flows have filled the bottom of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater. These flows originated from vents in the south portion of the crater, and one of the flows can be seen near the center of the photograph.

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater reaches new high level

The Overlook crater lava lake, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea's summit, has been rising over the past few days, and today reached the highest point yet measured for the current summit eruption. The lava lake this afternoon was 20 meters (66 feet) below the Overlook crater rim.

Left: Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active. Right: The lava level was high enough at the lava lake this evening that bits of spatter were reaching the rim of the Overlook crater.

April 9, 2015 — Kīlauea


Scattered breakouts northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō continue

Breakouts continue northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in three main areas: 1) at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, 2) north of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa and 3) about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photograph looks east and shows the breakout about 6 km from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This breakout consists of several narrow lobes that have expanded the June 27th lava flow margin by a minor amount, with a small amount of vegetation burning.

Left: A closer look at the leading tip of the farthest downslope breakout. The tip of the breakout was burning forest, and was 6.9 km (4.3 miles) northeast of the June 27th vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Right: This photograph looks upslope and shows another narrow lobe on the breakout that is roughly 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This lobe was moving along the south margin of the June 27th flow.

April 3, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts persist northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: 1) at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, 2) just north of Kahaualeʻa, and 3) the most distal breakout, about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph.

A closer look at the lava flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left portion of the photograph. Slightly above and to the right of the center of the photograph, the light colored area of lava is the active breakout (which started on February 21) on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph.

The breakout north of Kahaualeʻa has one lobe that has traveled along the west side of the perched lava channel that was active in late 2007. This breakout consists of blue glassy pāhoehoe, which is easily visible in the photograph on the left. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. Active (flowing) portions of the breakout are shown by yellow and white colors, while the red and purple areas show hot, but solidified, portions of the surface crust.

In the time since our last overflight (March 24), a new collapse pit has formed in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater. This circular pit can be seen in the lower left portion of the photograph, and measures about 27 m (roughly 90 ft) in diameter. Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot.

A closer look at the new pit in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater. Views inside the crater with the naked eye were obscured by thick fume, but the thermal images (right) revealed two areas of ponded lava, separated by a pile of collapse rubble, deep within the pit. Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

March 24, 2015 — Kīlauea


Active breakouts near Puʻu ʻŌʻō; Northeast pit in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater

Left: Breakouts are active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, north Kahaualeʻa, and about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The distal breakout and the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa are both burning forest. There is no eruptive activity downslope from the distal breakout (nothing active near Pāhoa). Right: There are several incandescent and outgassing hornitos on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's crater, including the one shown here, which is at the northeast edge of the crater. Recent flows from the hornito appear black.

March 17, 2015 — Kīlauea


Re-establishing VLF eruption rate monitor

Left: After establishing an appropriate location to resume VLF measurements over the June 27th lava tube to estimate the cross-sectional area of lava within the tube, HVO geologists make the measurements, sometimes requiring walking through volcanic gases. Right: The VLF radio wave, transmitted from the Lualualei Naval Base on Oʻahu, is received by the handheld device. The numbers are read and recorded. These data will allow the estimation of the cross-sectional area of lava within the tube.

HVO geologists still sample lava

HVO geologists get fresh lava samples as close to the vent as possible. Once the sample is scooped from the pāhoehoe lobe, it is quickly quenched in a bucket of water to stop the growth of any crystals and to preserve the composition of the liquid lava. Once cooled, the sample is sent first to UH Hilo for quick analysis of a few components and prepared for a fuller analysis of its chemical components by a lab on the mainland. These data are used, with HVO's geophysical monitoring data, as another way to assess any changes that may be occurring within Kīlauea volcano.

Blue-glass pāhoehoe

First recognized in Kalapana in 1990, these pāhoehoe flows appear bluish with dense, glassy crusts. These lavas are generally observed later in the life of an inflated pāhoehoe flow. The degassed nature of the lava promotes the formation of solid glass, rather than bubbly, crusts. The bluish color may be the result of the natural iron and magnesium in the lava.

The upper end of the June 27th lava tube

Left: Most of the ground work today was to establish the location and estimated size of the two lava tubes coming out of the June 27th vent area on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone. The area in this image is between the cone's north flank and a perched pond that formed last summer (arc-shaped feature on the right side of the image). The visual image shows the general location of the main tube before it splits downslope. Right: This infrared view of the area in Fig. 4a shows that the area is still quite hot and the tube location is possibly obscured although the few hotter strands may be indicators of the tube's location.

March 09 breakout has reached the north tree line

The March 09 breakouts, which issued from the vicinity of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, has advanced northward (to the left) and reached the forest at the north edge of the Kahaualeʻa flows and was burning vegetation along its edges. The most recent active pāhoehoe lobes from the February 21st breakout are visible in the foreground.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater again hosts a small lava lake near its southern edge (lower left) in addition to a hornito in the northeast corner (near right edge of image) with several glowing holes at its top.

Active portion of the February 21st breakout

Pāhoehoe lobes continue to be active at the leading edge of the February 21st breakout.

The leading edge is completely inactive

As reported since March 12, the leading edge just upslope of the Pahoa Marketplace, is inactive. The active breakouts noted today were more than 14 km (8.7 mi) straight-line distance from the Marketplace.

March 10, 2015 — Kīlauea


Upper Tube Breakouts

Left: There were two breakouts from the upper tube system on and at the foot of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone (right center). The largest and most active was the breakout nearest Puʻu Kahaualeʻa in the left center of the photograph. Right: Closeup of the new breakout near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa.

The Leading Edge

The leading edge of the lobe nearest Pahoa Marketplace is still stalled but, for the past few days, a new breakout has been advancing along its southern margin and is approaching the Apaʻa St. firebreak.

Still Plenty of Breakouts

Several breakouts were active upslope of the stalled front. This breakout issued from an inflated tumulus along the north margin of the June 27th flow.

Halemaʻumaʻu

The thin crust over the lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater was moving slowly to the southeast. During our overflight, there was no spattering and wispy gas emissions allowed clear views.

March 6, 2015 — Kīlauea


Breakouts persist upslope of stalled flow front, with recent reduction in activity

The leading tip of the June 27th flow remains stalled, but breakouts persist upslope of the stalled tip. Over the past few days, summit deflation has led to a reduction in overall surface activity on the June 27th flow, particularly in the upslope portion of the flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. In this photo, a recent small breakout (light colored area) has reached the flow boundary, triggering a small brush fire.

Another small breakout upslope of the stalled flow front, triggering a small brush fire. Low clouds and rain prevented wider views of the flow activity today.

Summit lava lake level has dropped with recent deflation

Summit deflation over the past few days has been associated with a steadily dropping lava lake level. This morning, the lake was 72 m (240 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater.

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