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Photo & Video Chronology


USGS-HVO photos and videos are in the public domain and can be freely downloaded from the HVO website (click on a photo to open a full resolution copy). Please credit "U.S. Geological Survey" for any imagery used.

April 23, 2018
Kīlauea summit lava lake overflows onto Halema‘uma‘u crater floor

Beginning around midnight on Saturday, April 21, Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake rose high enough that lava briefly spilled onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u. Since then, additional overflows occurred in four pulses on April 22–23. The largest one occurred during the fourth pulse, which started at 6:30 a.m. today (Monday, April 23) and continued for about three hours, covering about a third of the crater floor with shiny black lava. Early this morning, HVO geologists (shown here) used a laser range-finder to measure the depth to the lava lake surface at its peak level. The silhouettes of HVO and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum are visible on the rim of Kīlauea's summit caldera (center high point). Mauna Loa can be seen in the far distance (left). The area around Halema‘uma‘u remains closed to the public due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including high sulfur dioxide gas emissions and unexpected rockfalls and explosions.

A helicopter overflight this afternoon (April 23) of Kīlauea Volcano's Halema‘uma‘u crater showed the extent of the largest overflow (silver gray) of the lava lake, which occurred from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. this morning. The overflow covered much of the April/May 2015 and October 2016 overflows, but a section of the 2015 overflow is still visible on the south (upper edge) of the Halema‘uma‘u crater floor. At the time of the flight, multiple spattering sites were active around the margin of the summit lava lake, and the lake surface had dropped to a few meters (yards) below the vent rim. The lower lake level reflected the switch from inflation to deflation at the summit of Kīlauea.
April 22, 2018
Small overflows from Kīlauea's summit lava lake overnight

Rising summit lava lake levels peaked overnight, producing small overflows onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This photo shows the largest overflow, on the north margin, which reached about 80 m (262 feet) from the lake margin.

Left: A wider view of the lava lake and recent overflows. This photo is taken from the Halema‘uma‘u Crater rim, and looks northwest. Jaggar Museum and HVO can be seen on the skyline. Right: There were much smaller overflows on the west margin of the Overlook crater rim on Saturday night.

A close-up of the small overflows on the west rim of the Overlook crater, along with spattering along the northwest lake margin.

A line of spattering along the northwest lake margin on Sunday, April 22. Note that the spatter is being ejected well above the level of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater floor, with occasional small bits landing on the rim. At the left end of the spattering, a piece of the thin, flexible crust on the lava lake is lifted and torn by a bubble burst.

This video shows an overview of the lake from the Halema‘uma‘u Crater rim, as well as some of the spattering that was occurring on the lake margin on Sunday, April 22.
April 21, 2018
High summit lava lake close to the rim

The slowly rising lava lake at Kīlauea's summit was very close to the rim of the Overlook crater, and floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This afternoon the lava lake was roughly 6 m (20 feet) from the rim. This photo was taken from the Jaggar Museum overlook, which had superb views tonight.

A view of the lava lake this afternoon from the Halema‘uma‘u Crater rim, which remains closed to the public due to ongoing volcanic hazards. Jaggar Museum and HVO are on the skyline in the upper left.
April 19, 2018
A virtual flyover of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

This video shows a virtual flyover of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, the active vent on Kīlauea's East Rift Zone. The 3-D model was constructed from thermal images collected by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists during a helicopter overflight on April 18. In this model, the active lava pond in west pit, a small crater adjacent to the main Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater, appears hotter (bright yellow) than the surrounding area. The floor of the main crater has been uplifting due to increasing pressure within the magma system beneath Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. For scale, the main crater is about 280 m (920 ft) in diameter.
April 18, 2018
Ongoing changes at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, with continued breakouts near the vent

A brief break in the rain allowed for some clear views of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone. Since mid-March, Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō tiltmeters have been recording inflation, and uplift of the crater floor is visible in HVO webcams. The lava pond within the west pit (foreground) has also risen several meters (yards) and has overflowed onto the floor of the west pit numerous times.

An HVO geologist observes the perched lava pond within the west pit of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.

Surface flows on the 61g flow field remain active. Most breakouts are within 2 km (1.2 miles) of the 61g vent on the flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, but a few small surface flows are active on the upper flow field (above the pali) roughly 6 km (3.7 miles) from the vent.

This time-lapse image sequence taken by a time-lapse camera on the rim of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō's west pit, spans March 20 to April 18. The sequence, of approximately one image per day, shows the growth of the lava pond within the west pit as it developed into a perched lava pond. This sequence is looped 4 times.
April 17, 2018
Summit deflation leads to slight drop in lake level

Summit deflation began this morning, and the lake level has dropped slightly. This morning the lake was about 14 m (46 ft) below the Overlook crater rim, having dropped roughly 4 m (13 ft) since yesterday morning. In this photo, an HVO geologist checks on a time-lapse camera on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. A large spatter site is active along the east margin of the lake.
April 16, 2018
Ongoing inflation and crater floor uplift at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

Over the past month, HVO monitoring instruments have recorded a sharp inflationary trend at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (see https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/monitoring_deformation.html, scroll to bottom of page). Accompanying this inflation, the floor of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater has been uplifted, with lava intermittently spilling onto the crater floor. Brighter colors in these thermal images indicate the recent lava flows. This animated GIF shows the uplift between April 9 and April 13 (click on image to see the animation), with the floor being uplifted several meters (yards). Similar episodes of inflation and crater floor uplift in June 2014 and May 2016 resulted in lava erupting from new vents on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. The current activity is similar to these previous patterns, indicating an increased likelihood—but not a guarantee—of possible vent changes at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.
April 15, 2018
Rising lava lake at Halema‘uma‘u

Over the past few days, Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u has steadily risen as summit inflation continues. Today, Sunday, April 15, the lake surface was just 14 m (46 ft) below the Overlook crater rim. Spattering has also been active, with this photo showing a large spattering site in the southeast portion of the lake. These high lake levels have provided good views from the public viewing area at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum.
April 13, 2018
Blue skies at Kīlauea summit

At the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, the gas plume produced by the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake was blown to the southwest by normal trade wind conditions today. The lake level has been relatively high over the past several weeks and intermittently visible from the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Jaggar Museum Overlook. The museum and HVO are perched on the caldera rim (middle right), with the slopes of Mauna Loa visible in the background.
Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and episode 61g breakouts

Left: Lava within the west pit at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō has continued to rise since HVO's previous overflight (March 27) and has formed a perched lava pond (center) contained within a levee. This levee, formed by an accumulation of hardened lava, confines molten lava to the perched pond, which allows the lava surface to rise higher than the west pit floor. If the pond rises high enough, lava can spill over the levee, forming small flows around the margin of the perched pond. Right: This thermal image shows the perched lava pond (bright yellow) in the west pit within the crater of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. A recent overflow (orange) from the pond is filling a portion of the moat between the perched pond and the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater wall.

Left: An HVO geologist photographs an active pāhoehoe breakout after taking a lava sample nearby. Right: A photo of a pāhoehoe breakout approximately 0.4 km (0.25 mile) from the episode 61g vent. As the flow inflated, internal pressure cracked the rigid crust of the flow allowing molten lava to ooze out.
April 6, 2018
Rock fall at Halema‘uma‘u triggered an explosive event

Today at 10:28 a.m. HST, a partial collapse of the southern Overlook crater wall triggered an explosive event at Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake. A large plume of gas, ash, and lava fragments was seen rising from the lava lake at the Jaggar overlook. The explosion threw debris onto the Halema‘uma‘u crater rim at the old visitor overlook, which has been closed due to ongoing volcanic hazards such as this explosive event.

Geologists arrived at Halema‘uma‘u about 40 minutes after the explosive event to document the deposit and check on the webcams and other monitoring equipment. Upon arrival, the surface of the lava lake was still disturbed from the rock falls impact.

Left: The fresh spatter erupted from the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake today during the explosive event, ranged from small lapilli to bombs. The spatter shown here stretched approximately 82 cm (2.7 ft) long. Right: Lithic material (white), older crater wall rock which collapsed to trigger the explosive event, was also found in the deposit on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater.

Ballistics from the explosion impacted a few of the solar panels which power the monitoring equipment on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u.

An HVO geologist gathers samples from a network of collection buckets to evaluate the explosive deposit.

Viewing the Halema‘uma‘u parking lot (in background) from within the area of the explosive deposit. There is a clear boundary where the new deposit (which is gray in color) ends, and the blanket of Pele's hair (golden brown) continues.

Video: At 10:28 a.m. HST this morning (April 6), rock falls from the Overlook crater wall into Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake triggered an explosive event. This video, taken by the K2cam, shows a dark pulsing plume of ash and debris. The explosion hurled spatter (molten lava fragments) and lithic blocks (older crater wall) onto the rim at the old visitor overlook and to the southwest. This area is closed to the public due to volcanic hazards such as today's event.