Link to USGS home page.
Contact USGS

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon
  • Assess
  • Prepare
  • Forecast
  • |
  • Activity
  • Products
  • Observatories
  • About

Photo & Video Chronology - Kilauea Archive

Kilauea Latest Entries | Search | Kilauea Archive

8 December 2000

The plume at the Kamokuna ocean entry, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i.
| med | large |
Close up of the Kamokuna ocean entry bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i.
| med | large |
Left: The ocean entry plume rises as a motor boat wake is visible alongside the ocean entry. Right: A close up of the bench forming at the Kamokuna ocean entry, where lava enters the ocean just east of the center of the bench.

Sampling lava from a skylight

The 2300-foot skylight at Kilauea
| med | large |

Sampling lava from a skylight is an acquired skill, almost an art. It takes two to tango, and the skylight has to cooperate in the venture. This is the 2300-foot skylight, daring HVO scientists to sample it.

A volcanologist first gathers a stainless steel cable to which a heavy hammer head had earlier been attached. Then she gingerly lowers the cable, trying to get the hammer head to fall into the lava, which she can't see. It is a little like fishing for trout between sticks in a beaver dam, with all the perils of getting snagged and losing the line.

Dropping the sampling cable into a skylight
| med | large |
Withdrawing the sampling cable from the skylight
| med | large |
Closer view of the glowing stainless steel cable
| med | large |
Left: The stainless steel cable is pulled out of the skylight, glowing hot (best seen in large image) even though most of it never got in the lava. With luck, a little glob of lava clings to the hammer head. In this example, too little was caught, so the fishing had to be resumed. Right: Closer view of the glowing cable. Such heating is not the best way to treat stainless steel, and after many uses the cable eventually crumbles away.
Readying the sample for quenching in water
| med | large |
The sample steams in the can of water
| med | large |
Left: The volcanologist and HVO volunteer prepare to quench the sample of lava in water to preserve, as much as possible, the texture and mineral compositions of the flowing lava before it was sampled. Right: Steam comes from the lava sample and hammer head, immersed in the can of water. Note the heavy gloves worn during the handling of the hot cable.
Chipping the quenched lava glass from the hammer and cable
| med | large |
Telling tall tales on TV
| med | large |
Left: The lava, quenched to a glass by the water, is chipped off the cable and sampler with a rock hammer. The glass is still much too hot to touch without gloves.
Right: The HVO volcanologist, like a good fisher, tells tall tales on TV, regaling the camera crew with how hard it was to obtain the sample and how the cable was "really, really hot."


Map of flows from Pu`u `O`o to the ocean: September 2000

Map of lava flows on south coastal part of Kilauea Volcano as of September 2000

Large map Map shows lava flows (red) active in September 2000 above and on Pulama pali and on the coastal plain, as well as flows erupted earlier from Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. The eastern part of the active flow field (orange) extended to the Royal Gardens private access road on January 11 and entered the sea near Waha`ula on February 3-14, 2000. That flow stopped in  mid-August. A new flow (red) descended  Pulama pali and crossed the coastal plain in September, and lava continues (early December) still entering the sea at Kamokuna.

Eruption-viewing opportunities change constantly, refer to the HVO home page for current information. Those readers planning a visit to Kilauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes can get much useful information from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Current Kilauea Update | Kilauea Archive Home