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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.

November 5, 2019
More videos of the October 26 water sampling mission

This video was captured by the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as it collected a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit. Limited UAS flights in this area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit, and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

This thermal video was captured by the UAS as it collected a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit.
October 29, 2019
Video of the water sampling at Kīlauea summit with an unmanned aircraft system

This video shows the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) collecting a water sample from Halema‘uma‘u. This wider view shows the scale of the UAS relative to the water pond. USGS video by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019. Limited UAS flights into this area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit, and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

This video shows another view of the unmanned aircraft system sampling water from Halema‘uma‘u. USGS video by C. Parcheta, 26 Oct 2019.

This video shows a close-up of the unmanned aircraft system collecting a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u. USGS video by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019.

HVO scientists performed some preliminary tests of the water at the caldera rim minutes after it was collected. The thermal image shows that the water sample, in the plastic bottles, remained hot. Initial testing of the Kīlauea summit crater lake water sample revealed a pH of 4.2. This value is acidic, though not as low as at some other volcanic lakes around the world, which can have pH values near or lower than zero. The conductivity of the water, related to the amount of dissolved solids, was above the upper limit of our current sensor. We were unsuccessful in obtaining a direct measurement of the lake’s temperature, but recent measurements by a thermal camera on the rim of the crater indicate a maximum water temperature of 65-75 ° C. More in-depth analyses of the water will be conducted by USGS colleagues at the California Volcano Observatory. USGS images by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019.
October 28, 2019
Water sampling at Kīlauea summit with an unmanned aerial system

Telephoto zoom of a hexacopter unmanned aerial system (UAS) hovering steadily above the water in Halema‘uma‘u crater. The water was collected in a sterilized plastic sleeve.
Pre-flight inspection

The USGS and OAS team prepares the sampling mechanism and inspects the unmanned aerial system a few minutes before mission start and takeoff. Precautions were taken to ensure the aircraft and sampling mechanism were sterile, and would return safely from the pond.
October 25, 2019
Continued slow rise of water level at bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

The water level at Kīlauea summit continues to slowly rise, with the size of the pond gradually enlarging. The pond today was at least 140 m (460 ft) in the east-west direction (from bottom to top of image). This length is a minimum estimate as the west end of the pond is now partially blocked from view by the crater walls. USGS photo by D. Swanson.

This comparison shows the change in the water level over the past week. Note the water level relative to the large rock near the top of the image. USGS photos by D. Swanson and M. Patrick.
October 20, 2019
Timelapse video of the water pond at Kīlauea summit

This timelapse video covers 1.5 hours and shows the motion of the water surface at the summit of Kīlauea. Along the shoreline, areas of apparent water influx are visible, often with a slightly greener color. Shifting steam on the surface attests to the high temperature of the water and the winds at the bottom of the crater. The contrast has been enhanced to highlight the surface motion. USGS video by M. Patrick.
October 19, 2019
Water pond at Kīlauea summit continues to rise and enlarge

A wide view of Halema‘uma‘u from the western rim of Kīlauea caldera, showing the size of the water pond relative to the crater. The water level was measured as being 608 m (1995 ft) below this observation site. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

A closer look at the water surface. While most of the surface has a yellow-green color, portions along the shoreline have a blue color and seem to correspond to areas of water upwelling. USGS photo by M. Patrick.
October 17, 2019
Great Hawaii ShakeOut

Left: HVO staff practiced "Drop, Cover, and Hold on" during today's Great Hawaii ShakeOut earthquake drill (https://www.shakeout.org/hawaii/). During the next earthquake, you may only have seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking knocks you down or something falls on you. With practice, you will be ready to quickly respond. Right: How to protect yourself when the next earthquake strikes Hawaii: DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). HOLD ON until shaking stops. For more info, please visit https://www.shakeout.org/dropcoverholdon/. USGS photos by B. Shiro.
October 10, 2019
New USGS video posted online:  "Water appears in Halema‘uma‘u"

This photo of the Halema‘uma‘u water pond was taken by D. Swanson on October 7. In a new video posted to USGS YouTube today, HVO scientists talk about why water appeared at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u, how HVO is monitoring the rising water level, and the potential hazards of water in the crater. The 16-minute video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLpBMa1576I — or it can be downloaded from the USGS Multimedia Gallery at https://www.usgs.gov/media/videos/water-appears-halema-uma-u-k-lauea-volcano.
September 27, 2019
Continued slow rise of water at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

Left: On a beautiful and clear day at the summit of Kīlauea, no changes were observed in the water pond within Halema‘uma‘u. The pond of water continues to slowly rise. USGS photo by K. Mulliken, 09-27-2019. Right: Telephoto view of the water pond within Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea's summit. Little steam was emanating from the hot crater lake, likely as a result of the warm air temperature on this sunny day. USGS photo by K. Mulliken, 09-27-2019.
September 25, 2019
Halema‘uma‘u water pond on September 25—two months and still rising

ANIMATED GIF: As of today, September 25, it has been two months since water was first spotted at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u, 600 m (about 2000 ft) below the western caldera rim at the summit of Kīlauea. This animated image file (GIF) includes a series of telephoto images in a continuous loop showing the growth of the pond between August 7 and September 24, 2019. The apparent movement of the rocky ledge (lower left corner of images) is not real—the shift is caused by slightly different camera angles on different days. USGS GIF by L. DeSmither.

Left: A telephoto view of the water pond on September 24. The pond is now about the size of a football field, including end zones—or about 110 m (360 ft) long and just over 50 m (164 ft) wide. When the water was first observed on July 25, 2019, the pond was less than 10 m (33 ft) wide. USGS photo by M. Patrick, 09-24-2019. Right: The water pond within Halema‘uma‘u continues to slowly rise. Recent laser rangefinder measurements indicate that the water is now roughly 10 m (33 ft) deep. How much deeper could it get? Water table measurements at the Keller Well suggest that the pond could possibly rise another 65 m (210 ft). Scalding hot temperatures of the water surface have remained fairly consistent at 70 degrees Celsius (around 160 degrees Fahrenheit). USGS photo by M. Patrick, 09-24-2019.