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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.

March 19, 2018
10th anniversary of Kīlauea volcano's summit eruption

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the eruption within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. When the vent first opened on March 19, 2008, it formed a small pit about 115 feet (35 m) wide. Over the past decade, that pit (informally called the "Overlook crater") has grown into a gaping hole about 919 feet by 656 feet (280 x 200 m) in size. Click on the above webcam images to watch the growth of Overlook crater over the past 10 years. This video clip is from "Kīlauea Summit Eruption—Lava Returns to Halema‘uma‘u," a 24-minute USGS video that tells the story of this ongoing eruption. It can be viewed on the USGS YouTube Channel (

Left: To mark the 10th anniversary of Kīlauea Volcano's summit eruption, HVO geologist Matt Patrick talked about his work monitoring the lava lake this morning in a live video, now posted on the USGS Volcanoes Facebook page ( He was also a featured geologist in a Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park live video, now posted on the Park's Facebook page ( Right: When Matt measured the lava lake level this morning, the lake surface was 89 feet (27 m) below the Overlook crater rim. With the lava lake at that level, spattering on the lake surface could be seen from the Jaggar Museum overlook in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today.
March 15, 2018
Small rockfall and explosion at Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake

Just before noon today, HVO's summit webcam (KIcam) captured this striking image of Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing summit eruption. A small rockfall on the north side of the Overlook crater triggered a small explosion in the lava lake, sending a dark-colored ash plume skyward. Visitors (lower right) who happened to be looking toward Halema‘uma‘u from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park witnessed the event, but were in no danger from it given their distant vantage point.

HVO's HMcam also captured an image of today's rockfall and subsequent explosion (upper right) as it occurred.
March 7, 2018
Delta Erosion

The Kamokuna delta on Kīlauea's south flank continues to erode from wave action against the rock. A small sea arch present only 2 weeks ago has now collapsed, with only a small column sticking up above the waves (far left of the image). An unstable sea cave is being eroded into the delta (dark area in the middle of the image), and will continue to change with wave action. The tumulus that formed at the end of the delta's activity in November is still visible as a double-peaked mound.
March 6, 2018
Clear views of Halema‘uma‘u lava lake and spattering

Within Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake, vigorous spattering was occurring on the southern margin where a ledge of solidified lava has built out from the vent wall. The vigorous spattering site was active in an indentation in the ledge.

Left: A photo of the ledge that is building on Halema‘uma‘u lava lake's southern ledge. Small collapses of the unstable ledge are also common. Right: Another ledge along the eastern margin has been building out from the vent wall, showing the recent high lava lake level mark (new black lava).
March 5, 2018
Time-lapse image sequence of small collapse in Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō in February

This time-lapse image sequence spans just over an hour (7:50 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.) on February 10. The sequence, which is repeated 20 times in this "movie," shows subsidence and collapse of the northeast rim of the west pit within the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on Kīlauea's East Rift Zone. The collapse deposited rubble on the floor of the pit adjacent to the small lava pond that has been active in the pit for over two years. Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater is unstable and small collapses like this occur from time to time.
February 23, 2018
Poor views at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

On the south rim of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, on Kīlauea's East Rift Zone, an HVO geologist surrounded by thick steam and gas performs regular upkeep to the west pit time-lapse camera. This camera was relocated again at the end of January due to continued subsidence and instability in its previous location. The camera's field of view encompasses the entire rim of the west pit and the surrounding area (see time-lapse camera images below).

A telephoto image of the spattering lava pond contained within the west pit at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Wind-blown gas and steam reduced visibility.

Left: A single image from the time-lapse camera at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, with the spattering lava pond producing a bright glow from within the west pit (center of photo). This image was taken on January 31 at 6:15 am, shortly after the lunar eclipse ended (moon visible in the upper left corner). Right: This west pit time-lapse image was taken on February 19 at 6:20 am showing changes in the area since the previous image (taken on January 31). On February 10 at 8:21 am (exact time based on seismic data) a large portion of the northeastern rim of the west pit (right side of glowing pit), collapsed. Prior to and during the rim collapse, the adjacent ground also subsided.
February 20, 2018
‘A‘ā flows at the base of Pūlama pali

A telephoto view of the front of an ‘a‘ā flow near the base of the pali, producing heat shimmer in the center of the photo. Rubble from the flow rolls downhill, as the molten center slowly pushes forward.

Left: An HVO geologist documents a flowing ‘a‘ā channel that twists down the pali. The center of the channel in the photo is mostly obscured by levees of rubbly ‘a‘ā, pushed to the edges as the lava flowed. At the bottom left, the levee has not built up as high, so some molten lava from the channel is exposed. Right: A telephoto image of a section of one of the smaller ‘a‘ā channels which is roughly 1 m (yard) wide. The channel feeds the slow-moving, rubbly front as it pushes forward. A small accretionary lava ball travels down the lava channel.

Left: The front of the furthest ‘a‘ā flow downslope, exposing the molten core in places as the rubble is pushed forward. Right: ‘A‘ā flowing down Pūlama pali in multiple small channels, with orange incandescence visible. Older ‘a‘ā that is more red-brown in color (right) predates the episode 61g flow, while the active ‘a‘ā (photo's center) extends from the top to the base of the pali's steeper section. The closest active breakouts that geologists could find, were scattered pāhoehoe breakouts approximately 3.3 km (2.1 miles) from the emergency road. This section of the pali is one of several that have had active breakouts and lava channels over the past few days.
February 18, 2018
Heavy rains but normal lava lake activity

Heavy rain over the past week has created soggy conditions for fieldwork, but a brief clearing this afternoon provided good views of the summit. This photo, taken from Uwēkahuna Bluff near Jaggar Museum and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, shows fume rising up from the summit lava lake and condensing into a small cloud.

Left: This photo is from the southern rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater and shows typical activity in the lava lake. A spattering site is active along the northern lake margin. For scale, the lake surface is about 39 meters (about 130 ft) below the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Right: A closer look at spattering along the northern lake margin.
January 30, 2018
Clear skies on Kīlauea Volcano

Today, with clear views at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, four spattering sites were visible on the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake. Through the gas plume, a visible scar (light-colored wall rock) from the January 19 rockfall that triggered an explosive event, could be seen on the southern Overlook crater wall. Another, smaller scar on the northeastern lake wall (left), resulting from two tiny rock falls on January 24, was also visible.

The weather today allowed for clear views of the episode 61g flow field and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. The active 61g surface flows continue on and near the base of Pūlama pali, along with scattered breakouts on the upper flow field (above the pali). The closest active surface flows to the emergency road are approximately 2.8 km (1.7 miles) from the road. Three breakout areas on Pūlama pali are marked with black arrows, and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō can be seen on the skyline. There have been no major changes at the inactive Kamokuna lava delta (foreground).

An HVO geologist (near center) measured the level of the active lava pond inside the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō west pit, took photos, and documented recent changes of the lava pond and surrounding areas during today's field work.
January 19, 2018
Rockfalls trigger explosions in Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake

This video shows a rockfall and subsequent explosion that occurred at 7:03 a.m. HST today within the "Overlook crater" at the summit of Kīlauea. This collapse was followed by a smaller rockfall at 7:07 a.m. (not shown in video). Rocks falling into the lava lake agitated the lake surface and caused the lake to "slosh" back-and-forth for at least 15 minutes following the collapse. Explosive events triggered by rockfalls, like those this morning, occur with no warning and are one of the reasons why the Halema‘uma‘u crater rim area remains closed to the public. Fallout from today's explosion would have resulted in serious injury to anyone on the impacted crater rim.

"Dimples" in the Pele's hair that has accumulated on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u are evidence of ballistic impacts during today's rockfall-triggered explosion in Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake. Spatter (fragments of molten lava) blasted from the lava lake landed all around HVO's thermal camera (HTcam) that monitors lake activity. Fortunately, the camera escaped damage, so thermal images of the lava lake can still be viewed on HVO's webcam page (

Spatter up to about 30 cm (11.8 in) in size was hurled onto the rim of Halema‘uma‘u during today's explosive events. Some fragments were thrown or blown farther downwind, reaching as far as the closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The boot of an HVO scientist, who entered the area to check on HVO's webcameras, is shown here for scale.