HVO Photos & Video

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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.

A telephoto image of the eastern Kamokuna lava delta (from the same location as the photo above) shows lava dribbling into the sea and a closer view of the ocean entry plume.

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.

Kīlauea's summit lava lake remains at a high level

The lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea remained at a high level today, about 18 m (60 ft) from the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the time of this photo.

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.

View of Kīlauea's summit lava lake from the north rim of Halemaʻumaʻu.

Movie showing lava lake spattering

Movie showing spattering near the south edge of Kīlauea's summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu.

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.

A video clip showing spattering in Kīlauea's summit lava lake.

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 storm—a 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 field—on the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distance—delineate 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 Overlook—amidst 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.

Kamokuna ocean entry remains active

Aerial view of the Kamokuna ocean entry and the Emergency Access Road cut by the 61g lava flow. 61g lavas are lighter in color than older lavas on the coastal plain. Upslope, a trail of fume marks the lava tube as it passes over the pali.

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 April–May 2015. At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 22–26 m (72–85 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.

August 16, 2016 — Kīlauea

Hazards associated with the Kamokuna ocean entry an ongoing concern

People who venture too close to Kīlauea's Kamokuna ocean entry—by land or by sea—are at risk from multiple hazards associated with lava flowing into the sea. The white plume formed by the interaction of lava and seawater is a corrosive mixture of super-heated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, all of which should be avoided. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) can collapse without warning. Should the lava delta shown here collapse, fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock would be thrown both inland and seaward, potentially impacting people on the cliff above the ocean entry and in the boat in front of the delta.

Left: The beauty of Kīlauea Volcano's eastern Kamokuna ocean entry can be enjoyed from a safe distance upwind of where lava flows into the sea. The eastern entry site (shown here) has created a lava delta that is now about 5 acres in size; as this delta grows larger, so does the risk of a sudden collapse. Right: Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

During a special media briefing today, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists (left) and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers (right) talked about the hazards associated with Kīlauea Volcano's active lava flow and ocean entries, the exciting scientific opportunities posed by flow 61G, and how visitors can safely hike to and view the beauty of lava flowing on land and into the sea.

August 12, 2016 — Kīlauea

Flow "61g" still active

On Friday evening, breakouts from the east side of lava flow "61g" provided good viewing for visitors who walked in from the Kalapana viewing area.

Lava entering the sea on the western side of flow "61g" is building a platform of new land known as a lava delta, which appears deceptively stable. However, the veneer of lava on the delta surface hides a foundation of loose rubble. As a result, lava deltas are extremely unstable, and they can—and do—collapse without warning. The white plume produced when lava enters the sea is a corrosive mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, and should be avoided.

August 8, 2016 — Kīlauea

Explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano's summit

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, August 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. A light-colored "scar" about 20 m (66 ft) across from this rockfall is visible to the right of the spattering area on the lake surface. Rocks in the vent wall can become unstable when the level of the lava lake drops, as has been going on for the last several days.

Left: The explosive event blanketed the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with a layer of tephra (volcanic rock fragments) up to about 20 cm (8 in) thick. The tephra deposit was thickest to the east of the former visitor overlook on the crater rim (shown here), where it formed a continuous layer. Bombs were thrown up to 90 m (295 ft) beyond the crater rim at the overlook and were deposited over an area 220 m (720 ft) wide along the rim. Saturday night's explosive event is a reminder of why this area remains closed. Had anyone been standing in this area when it occurred, that person would have been severely burned or killed by the falling debris. Right: Tephra blasted from the summit vent on Saturday night included lithic (solid rock) fragments from the vent wall as well as spatter (molten lava fragments) ejected from the lava lake. The light-colored lithic in the center of this photo is about 20 cm (8 in) long—the GPS unit is shown for scale. Tephra, the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter.

Left: In areas not completely blanketed by tephra from the explosive event, impact marks were obvious where large fragments of molten lava (spatter) had landed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, then bounced or slid to their current positions. In this photo, two large pieces of spatter, 45-60 cm (18-24 in) across, can be seen to the upper right and lower left of the GPS unit. The slightly smoother circular features to the right of these fragments show where those bombs initially hit the crater rim. Right: Volcano monitoring equipment installed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater was a casualty of Saturday night's explosive event. This pile of charred wires and metal components, surrounded by melted plastic, is all that remains of the power supply for one of HVO's gravity instruments located about 24 m (80 ft) from the crater rim.

August 5, 2016 — Kīlauea

Ocean entry widens

The Kamokuna ocean lava flow entry continues, and is approximately 250 m (820 ft) wide at the point of entry. The 61g flow pāhoehoe activity on the distal half of the coastal plain continues to widen the flow field.

Photo comparison of the emergency access road from July 25, the day the lava first crossed (left), and today August 5 (right). The flow is now approximately 200 m (650 ft) wide on the road and has inflated to a few meters tall (HVO geologist for scale).

August 2, 2016 — Kīlauea

Ocean entry less robust today

Left: During today's overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's "61g" lava flow, the ocean entry appeared less robust, with only one small flow of active lava streaming over the sea cliff. The second, smaller ocean entry point, west of this main entry (noted in our July 29 photo), was not active at the time of the overflight. Right: Upslope of the ocean entry, sluggish pāhoehoe lava continued to break out in several places along the margins of the flow.

July 30, 2016 — Kīlauea

Pāhoehoe lava oozes toward sea cliff

This morning, slow-moving pāhoehoe lava toes and lobes continued to break out from the active flow that crossed the "emergency route" gravel road on Kīlauea Volcano's south flank. Viewing these active breakouts requires a long (8-10 miles, round trip) and hot hike. It is essential for anyone attempting the hike to carry 2-3 quarts of drinking water per person. Sturdy shoes and sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) are highly recommended. Early morning or late evening hikers should also carry a flashlight and extra batteries. For more safety info, please visit http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/fs152-00/ and https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/photosmultimedia/lava-safety-video.htm.

July 29, 2016 — Kīlauea

Lava continues to flow into the ocean

The 61g lava flow continues to stream into the ocean, with two entry points observed today: the original one, where lava first entered the ocean on July 26 (near center of photo), and a smaller one to the west (far left side of photo). The ocean entries are adding lava to the rubble at the bottom of the sea cliff. Black sand—formed by the interaction of hot lava and cool seawater, as well as by wave erosion of the rocky cliff—is also accumulating along the coastline.

Left: A close-up view of the main ocean entry, showing the accumulation of lava and black sand at the base of the sea cliff. Right: Today, HVO's geology field crew gathered data near the 61g lava flow vent on the eastern flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

At the summit of Kīlauea...

On Friday afternoon, three areas of spattering on the summit lava lake surface produced abundant volcanic gas emissions, one of the main hazards near the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater vent. Earlier this morning, spattering lava was visible from a safe distance at Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

July 27, 2016 — Kīlauea

Ocean entry continues

Lava from the 61g flow continues into the ocean along Kīlauea's south coast. Today's field crew also noted active pāhoehoe breakouts a few hundred meters (yards) upslope from the coast and road.

Meanwhile, back at the summit of Kīlauea...

Perched on the rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and NPS Jaggar Museum (foreground) overlook the active lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The black lava flows to the left and right of the fuming vent spilled onto the crater floor in April-May 2015, when the lava lake briefly filled to overflowing.

The summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater continuously circulates, with lava upwelling on one side of the lake and downwelling on the opposite side, often resulting in vigorous spattering (bright spot on left side of lake). As it circulates, sections of the dark-colored, semi-solid lake surface pull apart, revealing the incandescent molten lava beneath and creating the appearance of a jigsaw puzzle. This evening, the lava lake surface was about 26 m (85 ft) below the vent rim. The silhouette of Mauna Loa is visible in upper right.

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