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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 1, 2020
No significant changes in the summit water pond

No significant changes were observed in the water pond in Halema‘uma‘u Crater, at Kīlauea's summit. The water surface still has an orange-brown hue in the center, with greenish areas on the east and west ends (top and bottom of photo) presumably indicating influx of groundwater. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

Left: A wider view of Halema‘uma‘u, in a rare window of clear weather during the past week. USGS photo by M. Patrick. Right: The Kīlauea summit water pond from the KW webcam site. This angle provides a better view of the greenish zone in the west end of the pond (bottom right of photo). USGS photo by M. Patrick.

Left: A closeup of the northern shoreline of the Kīlauea summit water pond shows how opaque the water is against the rocks. USGS photo by M. Patrick. Right: One of the many koa‘e kea (white-tailed tropicbird) circling Halema‘uma‘u today. The still winds allowed their calls to be heard easily while measuring the pond. USGS photo by M. Patrick.
March 26, 2020
Timelapse of water rising in Halema‘uma‘u

This timelapse sequence shows the water pond in Halema‘uma‘u Crater, at Kīlauea's summit, between November 1, 2019, and March 26, 2020. Over this time the water level rose approximately 14 meters (46 feet), equivalent to 67 cm (about 2 feet) per week. The timelapse shows one image per day (with a few cloudy images removed), and is looped several times.
March 25, 2020
HVO scientists conduct field checks of LiDAR survey

Left: Question: What's that device in the shrubs (circled in red)? Right: Answer: It's a GPS capable of accurately measuring elevations to within 10 cm (~4 in). In Summer of 2019, USGS organized a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey of Kīlauea's summit and East Rift Zone, including both Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and the 2018 lower Puna lava flows. A helicopter-mounted LiDAR sends pulses of light toward the ground, which are reflected back to a source sensor. The precise return times are used to construct a digital elevation model (DEM) of the topography that has greater detail than DEMs derived from other sources, such as satellite radar. In this case, the resolution is 25 cm (~10 in). However, objects above the ground, such as buildings, cars, trees, or shrubs, also reflect the light. Computers can filter out these returns, but the "bare-earth" surface may still contain small errors. To verify the accuracy of the DEM, HVO scientists are conducting field checks by mounting GPS units on a 1-meter (~3.25-foot) pole to accurately measure the ground elevation below the vegetation, as shown here. No native plants were harmed during the data collection. USGS photos by M. Zoeller.
March 19, 2020
Continued slow rise of water in Halema‘uma‘u

The water pond at Kīlauea's summit continues to gradually deepen. The pond surface remains variable in color, with a brownish hue in the northern portion, evident through the gaps in steam. USGS photo by D. Swanson. The depth measurements of the pond are available at this link:
March 2, 2020
Water pond in Halema‘uma‘u continues to grow

Comparison of the water pond in Halema‘uma‘u on November 20, 2019, and March 1, 2020. Camera and lens same for both photos. Since November 20, 2019, the pond deepened 10 m (33 ft) and widened more than 50 m (164 ft) east-west and 30 m (98 ft) north-south. Circled clusters of rocks did not move between photos, evidence of slope stability. The water's color browned with time, though the photos probably exaggerate the color difference. The blue-green water at the far and near ends of the pond is interpreted as groundwater entering the pond. USGS photos by D. Swanson.
February 18, 2020
Interferogram shows range change at MAUNA LOA and Kīlauea

Data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B satellites on March 31, 2019, and January 31, 2020, produced this interferogram. Each fringe, or band of colors, represents 2.83 cm (1.1 inches) of range change—the distance between the satellite and the ground. Counting fringes gives the total range change between two satellite passes. At point (A) the ground moved closer to the satellite by 7 cm (2.75 in) between the two passes due to inflation of the shallow magma chamber beneath Mauna Loa's summit. The angle at which the satellites viewed the ground shifted the signal slightly east of the summit. Fringes near point (B) at the summit of Kīlauea reflect inflation of the shallow Halema‘uma‘u magma chamber. This inflation has been observed since mid-March 2019, with a total range change of approximately 40 cm (15.7 in). Point (C) is on the middle East Rift Zone near Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Interferograms and GPS data show that inflation has slowly shifted toward Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō in recent months, during which the range change has been about 17 cm (6.7 in). Speckled areas with no visible fringes are covered by dense vegetation that prevents radar from reaching the ground. Atmospheric water vapor can also affect the radar and is responsible for the circular fringes around Mauna Kea and mottled or linear patterns elsewhere. These signals show that magma is entering the shallow storage system. However these data, together with seismicity and SO2 emission rates do not suggest an imminent eruption. More info on how to read an interferogram is available in a 2019 Volcano Watch article (
January 31, 2020
Halema‘uma‘u crater lake on January 31

Field observations today show that the diameters of the crater lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea are about 94 m (308 ft) north-south and around 192-195 m (630-640 ft) east-west. Too much steam at the west end interfered with measurements this morning. Two small circles above the northeast edge of the water show how much the lake has grown since January 24. USGS photos by D. Swanson.
Water samples collected from Halema‘uma‘u crater lake on January 17

Left: On January 17, 2020, USGS-HVO scientists and DOI Unoccupied Aerial System (UAS) team members collected three additional samples of water from the Halema‘uma‘u crater lake. Here, the sampling device and temperature logger were readied for takeoff. The plastic sleeve was attached to the UAS (drone) with a cord about 20 feet (6 m) long. Colored flags were attached to the cord at 5-foot (1.5-m) intervals so that the UAS pilot and other team members could visually gauge how deep the sampler was under the water surface. One water sample was collected close to the lake surface. Two others were collected from a depth of 10-15 feet (3-4.5 m)—one in a yellow-orange patch of water and the other in a yellow-green patch of water. USGS photo by S. Warren. Right: The purpose of the UAS flights was to collect water samples and gas data to assess ongoing volcanic hazards. HVO's work in a culturally sensitive area closed to the general public was done with permission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. After a sample was collected, HVO team members transferred water from the sampling device to plastic bottles. The scientists wore protective gear, including hardhats in case of rockfall hazards near the crater rim, as well as aprons, goggles, and gloves to shield them from the hot, acidic water. USGS photo by S. Warren.

Team members took notes, measured water pH, and evaluated water temperature data for each sample collected. Water temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) were recorded but are an underestimate due to equilibration time issues with the temperature sensor. Remote measurements of the water's surface temperature via a thermal camera have consistently indicated temperatures of 70-80 degrees Celsius (roughly 160-175 degrees Fahrenheit). Field measurements of pH indicated values of 4.3 for the surface water, 4.2 for the yellow-orange water, and 3.9 for the yellow-green water (pH of the October 26, 2018, sample was 4.2). Additional laboratory analyses by USGS California Volcano Observatory colleagues revealed that the three January samples, while more dilute (perhaps due to recent heavy rainfall), are chemically similar to the water sampled in October, which indicates ongoing reactions between the lake water, volcanic gases, and the surrounding basaltic rocks. HVO's work in a culturally sensitive area closed to the general public is done with permission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The purpose of the UAS flights was to collect water samples and gas data to assess ongoing volcanic hazards. USGS photo by S. Warren.
January 21, 2020
Routine overflight of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone

HVO geologists conducted a routine helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone, from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō to the lower East Rift Zone flow field, on Tuesday, January 21. This photo looks uprift (west) and shows Fissure 8, the dominant vent for the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. Minor steaming is normally present in and around the cone. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Left: This video clip shows a flyover of fissure 8 on Jan. 21. During the 2018 eruption, lava spilled out from the cone into a channel that extended towards the north. Lava traveled approximately 13 km (8 miles) to reach the ocean at Kapoho Bay. USGS video by M. Patrick. Right: This thermal video of the fissure 8 cone shows that small areas of higher temperatures (greater than 100 degrees Celsius, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit) are present on the cone. Those hotter areas likely represent residual heat in the cone and the underlying fissure. USGS video by M. Patrick.

Left: Looking north along the broad fissure 8 channel. At its widest section, the channel is about 430 meters (1400 feet wide). Highway 132 (upper right) can be seen cutting through the braided section of the channel. USGS photo by M. Zoeller. Right: A closer view of the braided section of the fissure 8 channel, with Highway 132 cutting across both branches. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Looking uprift (to the southwest) at the 2018 lower East Rift Zone fissure system—from fissure 8 (top right) to fissure 22 (bottom left). Fissure 22 stands out from other 2018 vents due to its conical shape, which resulted from small "Strombolian" explosions that built a pile of cinder around it. Those explosions continued into July 2018, making 22 the last known erupting fissure, other than fissure 8, which continued to erupt until September 5, 2018. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

A view up the fissure 8 channel in an area just west of Kapoho Crater, where the flow widened and ponded during the 2018 eruption. The browner lava with ridges is some of the final sluggish lava that covered the channel floor in early August 2018, just prior to fissure 8 waning. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Left: The black sand beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park on Jan. 21, 2020. Basaltic sand from the 2018 lava delta (far right) continues to accumulate, widening and elongating the beach at Pohoiki Bay. USGS photo by M. Zoeller. Right: This aerial view shows the rugged terrain created by thick "toothpaste" lava flows erupted from fissure 8 during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. This terrain is typical of the shoreline in the Kapoho area. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

On Kīlauea's middle East Rift Zone, thick clouds and steam prevented clear views into the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater. However, a partial view into Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō showed that a small area on the south crater wall had collapsed over the past week. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.
January 17, 2020
Continued slow rise of water at bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

After days of rain, a window of clear weather allowed HVO geologists to make observations and take measurements of the water pond at Kīlauea's summit. No major changes were observed, and the water level continues to slowly rise. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

A close up view of the pond shows the color variations across the surface, and sharp boundaries between zones of different color. USGS photo by M. Patrick.
January 13, 2020
HVO collaborates in conducting fieldwork on Kīlauea

On January 8, scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, University of Texas at San Antonio, and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa hiked on the lava delta that formed in Kapoho Bay during Kīlauea's 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. The group collected rock samples to characterize the chemistry and density of the emplaced lava, as well as its "rheology" (flow properties of lava in a liquid or near-liquid state). The rubbly lava (similar to ‘a‘ā) in the foreground consists of crustal plates from the fissure 8 lava channel that were loosely stacked as the lava slowed and cooled near the former coastline. The scientists shown here are hiking on denser "toothpaste" lava ooze-outs that were squeezed out from below the rubble, forming a characteristically spiny surface. The unstable rubble and sharp "toothpaste" surface, along with powerful waves along the coast, make for extremely hazardous hiking in this area. The scientists wore gloves and other protective gear and stayed well clear of the coastline to complete their work safely. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.