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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.

July 21, 2017
Coastal plain flows advance

The June 26 breakout continues to advance across the coastal plain. Today, July 21, the front of this breakout was approximately 350 m (0.2 miles) wide, and roughly 2 km (1.2 miles) from the closest points in the emergency access road. The eastern side of the flow front was outside of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boundary, and there were many scattered sluggish pāhoehoe breakouts (pictured above). The western side, inside of the National Park, had less active pāhoehoe breakouts.

The Kamokuna ocean entry and lava delta remain active, with no obvious changes over the past week. The large coast-parallel crack that spans the width of the delta (seen from lower-left to upper-right of image) remains prominent, and highlights the instability of the delta.
July 20, 2017
Clear evening views of Halema‘uma‘u's lava lake

Clear weather provided good views of the lava lake at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. The activity this evening was typical for the lava lake, with variable spattering along the lake margins. Spattering shown here was in the southeast part of the lake, which is the most common site for spattering. This photo was taken by USGS scientists from the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater, an area that remains closed to the public due to ongoing volcanic hazards.

A beautiful sunset over Mauna Loa (in distance at left) provided a backdrop to the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u. HVO and Jaggar Museum are on the horizon near the center of the panorama.

Left: At about 7:00 p.m., the spattering was intense along the south margin of the lava lake. Right: About ten minutes after the photo at left, the spattering diminished and retreated to a small site within a small grotto.

Crustal foundering, in which pieces of the thin, flexible lake crust sink beneath the surface, is common in the southern portion of the lake.

This video clip shows spattering along the south margin of the summit lava lake. Note the large slab of crust migrating into the spatter site, where it is consumed. Unfortunately, wind noise masks much of the spattering sound in this video.
July 13, 2017
Front of coastal plain breakout stalled

Geologists visiting the June 26 breakout today (July 13) found the front (pictured) stalled with no active lava visible. There has been no significant advancement of the flow front since July 8, and is still 2.2 km (1.4 miles) from the road. Today, the closest active surface flows were 2.4 km (1.5 miles) from the road consisting of sluggish pāhoehoe breakouts in a small area.

There have been no major changes at the Kamokuna ocean entry or lava delta. The delta remains unstable, with a large crack (noted earlier this week) that spans the entire width of the delta.

This video clip (at x30 speed) shows the pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain.
July 11, 2017
Continued spattering in the summit lava lake

Spattering is common in the summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This afternoon, spattering was active at a site along the east lake margin. Spatter deposits have built a small ledge extending out from the crater walls (lower right of photo), onto which fluid spatter often falls. For scale, the lake surface is 28 meters (92 feet) below the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater (visible at the top of the photo).

Left: A wider view of the lava lake in the Overlook crater, taken from the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater (closed to the public due to volcanic hazards). Right: A view of the outgassing plume produced by the summit lava lake. The photo was taken from Uwēkahuna Bluff, near HVO and the National Park Service Jaggar Museum.
July 10, 2017
June 26 breakout continues to advance across the coastal plain

The June 26 breakout remains active at the flow front, which can be distinguished by the light silver color at the bottom-center of the photo. The flow has been slowly advancing along the eastern margin of the main episode 61g flow field, and this afternoon was approximately 1 km (0.6 miles) from the base of the pali and 2.2 km (1.4 miles) from the emergency access road. The breakout has developed a lava tube on the pali based on the areas of concentrated degassing on the pali (center) and above.

A zoomed in view of the Kamokuna lava delta reveals several crack systems parallel to the sea cliff which suggests instability of the delta. Over the past few weeks, flows on the delta have built up the surface near the base of the cliff creating a slope seaward.

This image shows a comparison of a normal photograph (left) with a thermal image (right) of the lava delta. The cracks spanning the delta, and the warm water plumes extending out from the entry point, are evident in the thermal image. A circular area of discolored water is cool in the thermal image, and may represent a zone of upwelling of deeper water to the surface.

This video clip gives a view of the ocean entry and the cracks on the lava delta.
July 6, 2017
Recent breakout is advancing on the coastal plain

A breakout that started June 26 on the upper pali is now advancing across the coastal plain. The flow front has advanced approximately 500 m (0.3 miles) from the base of the pali, and was about 2.7 km (1.7 miles) from the emergency road this morning. The pāhoehoe flow front, visible in the center of the photo, was very fluid and active when mapped today by geologists. Active and recently active surface flows are silver in appearance, like the flow front; also note the silver appearance on the steep part of the pali to the right of the kipuka. The main tube system for the episode 61g flow is degassing higher up on the pali (left-center).

A closer look at the pāhoehoe flow on the coastal plain with pali in background. As the flow spread across the ground, its surface cooled and developed a hardened crust. Continued addition of new lava into the interior of the flow eventually raised and broke through the rigid crust, allowing molten lava from the interior to escape through the new openings and spread forward. Note the rigid crust on top of the red, molten lava.

This video shows timelapse images of active pāhoehoe toes near the base of the pali.
June 29, 2017
Kamokuna lava delta remains active

An aerial view of the Kamokuna lava delta reveals the recent surface breakouts (dark flows) that began on Sunday, June 25, with the short-lived firehose activity. These flows contrast nicely with the older, altered delta surface, which is much lighter in color. The crack noted in our June 22 images is clearly visible on the western (left) side of the delta in today's photo, and is a good reminder of delta instability.

Left: A telephoto view of the crusted over firehose flow where it exits the sea cliff. Small cracks in the crust expose incandescence from molten lava within the tube that feeds the delta. Right: At the front edge of the delta, a large tube-fed stream of lava enters the ocean. Only occasional glimpses of flowing lava could be seen through the thick steam plume produced by the interaction hot lava and cool sea water. A few smaller lava streams also entered the ocean, including the one to the right of the main stream shown here.

This video clip shows Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry, with the steam plume rising from the front of the lava delta. Recent flows have covered the surface of the delta with fresh lava.
June 28, 2017
Impressive spattering in the summit lava lake

Spattering is common in Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake, and is often focused along the south lake margin. But occasionally, as happened today, numerous spattering sites can appear in the north part of the lake. Unfortunately, northern areas of spattering can rarely be seen from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, especially when the lava lake level is as low as it was today.

A close up of spattering in the western portion of the summit lava lake.

Left: Crustal spreading zones leave bands of changing texture on the lava lake surface, highlighted by late afternoon sunlight. Right: More bands of differing surface texture adjacent to a spreading zone. In the lower right corner, an additional spreading zone is migrating north (toward the upper left in this photo) and has nearly intersected the other spreading zone.
June 26, 2017
Firehose activity briefly returns at the Kamokuna ocean entry

Yesterday (Sunday, June 25) between 11:39 and 11:44 HST, firehose activity started at the ocean entry and continued for less than 10 minutes. A USGS time-lapse camera, which takes a photo every 5 minutes, captured this image at 11:44 and by 11:49 the firehose was replaced by a lava channel on the delta. The cause of the short-lived firehose activity was not visible from the time-lapse camera, but was likely the result of a failure of the 61g tube casing where it exits the old sea cliff.

This photo from June 25 shows the established lava channel at 6:49 pm HST, hours after the firehose activity. Today (June 26) HVO observers did not see any active surface breakouts on the delta and the channel has tubed over, but some narrow streams of lava were spilling into the ocean. The delta had lost some small chunks, but there was no evidence seen of a large-scale delta collapse.
June 22, 2017
Thermal image shows crack across lava delta

Thermal images collected during the overflight on Wednesday, June 21, show a hot crack spanning much of the width of the lava delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry. These cracks are common on lava deltas, and suggest sagging and instability at the front of the delta.