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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 18, 2019
Rockfalls continue to change the shape of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater

This video was taken during a recent overflight of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on Kīlauea Volcano's middle East Rift Zone. No major changes were observed at the crater, but its shape continues to be altered by small rockfalls within it.

This 3D model of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater was constructed from thermal images taken during a recent helicopter overflight. White areas show warm spots in the crater. Despite the absence of active lava in Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, changes at the crater have continued since magma drained from beneath it on April 30, 2018. The shape of the crater continues to change through occasional small collapses within it.

After magma drained from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on April 30, 2018, the crater was roughly 356 m (1168 ft) deep, with the upper part of the crater flared and the deeper part a narrower cylindrical shaft. Collapses on the crater walls have since enlarged sections of the crater and filled the deepest part with rockfall debris, creating a much different crater geometry—as shown in this comparison of models from May 11, 2018, and March 18, 2019. Today, the deepest portion of the crater is 286 m (938 ft).
March 13, 2019
Sulfur deposits forming in the new Halema‘uma‘u crater

Telephoto zoom of the largest sulfur deposit forming on the NE talus wall in Halema‘uma‘u. The view is from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's K3cam. Images can be viewed on HVO's website at
Rockfall on Halema‘uma‘u western wall

At 08:23 on March 13, 2019, the upper part of a gully along the western wall of the new Halema‘uma‘u crater failed, producing a rockfall. When geologists arrived at the summit at 09:00, rocks were still falling, and a small dusty plume was visible until 09:08. This rockfall was likely triggered by instability of the talus slope caused by water that has been trickling out of a round hole in the cliff face since July 2018, when the steep gully first formed.
March 6, 2019
Kīlauea summit

Left: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists installed a new battery in a summit webcam that provides a view into Halema‘uma‘u. Images from K3cam can be viewed on HVO's website at USGS photo: J. Kauahikaua, 03 March 2019. Right: View into Halema‘uma‘u from the west rim of Kīlauea's summit caldera. USGS photo: J. Kauahikaua, 03 March 2019
March 3, 2019
Volcano Watch: How fast will this flow cool?

The ‘a‘ā flow shown here was erupted from fissure 8 on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on June 1, 2018. How do lava flows like this cool and how long does it take? These questions are answered in HVO's Feb. 28, 2019, "Volcano Watch" ( USGS photo by A. Lerner.
February 23, 2019
Volcano Watch: A new focus on a different volcanic gas

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flights as a means of measuring the ratio of carbon dioxide to sulfur dioxide gases emitted by Kīlauea. The importance of this ratio and what it can reveal about magma within Kīlauea is the topic of HVO's Feb. 21, 2019, "Volcano Watch" article, Low sulfur emissions mean a new focus on a different volcanic gas. Here, a USGS pilot and HVO gas geochemist prepare to conduct a UAS test flight on Kīlauea in November 2018. The UAS was outfitted with a prototype miniaturized multi-gas sensor for the detection of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gases emitted from the volcano. USGS photo by P. Nadeau.
February 19, 2019
HVO scientists continue to monitor Kīlauea Volcano

Kīlauea has been relatively quiet since September 2018. However, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to monitor the volcano for any signs of change and to learn as much as they can from the dramatic events of this past summer. Here, HVO scientists scout possible locations for a webcam to provide additional views into the enlarged crater within Kīlauea's summit caldera. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

To better understand the dynamics of Kīlauea's 2018 lower East Rift Zone lava flow, an HVO geologist recently collected samples from the fissure 8 channel for laboratory analyses. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Left: An HVO scientist levels a tripod over a benchmark during a routine campaign GPS survey on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone. USGS photo by L. DeSmither. Right: Global Positioning System (GPS) is used to track deformation (ground surface changes) on Hawaiian volcanoes. Here, an HVO geophysicist completes the final setup on a GPS instrument on Kīlauea so that it can begin collecting data on the volcano's lower East Rift Zone. USGS photo by L. DeSmither.
November 30, 2018
Routine crack check by geologists in the lower East Rift Zone

Left: USGS scientists continue to monitor some of the cracks in the lower East Rift Zone to check for any significant changes. This scientist is using an infrared thermometer to record the temperature within the ground cracks. Right: USGS scientist measures and documents the width of a ground crack. Other than temperature and crack width measurements, geologists also note any visual or audible changes such as steam and water boiling heard in the hottest cracks.
November 26, 2018
USGS scientists continue to monitor Kīlauea

Left: USGS scientists use an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS, or drone) to fly a MultiGas instrument along Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone to determine concentrations of volcanic gases in small plumes rising from the now inactive fissures. The UAS is barely visible in the distance, just to the upper left of fissure 21 (larger cone at right). Right: A close-up of the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) used by USGS scientists to measure volcanic gases in remote areas of Kīlauea. The fissure 21 cone is visible in the far right background.
November 7, 2018
No changes observed in the Lower East Rift Zone

No significant changes were observed on today's overflight of the Lower East Rift Zone. This photo, looking north, shows the eastern portion of Leilani Estates subdivision, now covered by lava. The Fissure 8 cone, which was active for two months, is visible near the center of the photo, with its large drained channel extending north. White steam originates from residual heat in the fissure system.

This photo shows the widest portion of the Fissure 8 channel, at roughly 425 meters (0.26 miles) across.

A large black sand beach remains in front of the Pohoiki boat ramp. Roadway construction over the recent lava flows can be seen at the top of the image.
November 6, 2018
Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō remains quiet

Clear conditions provided good views into the deep crater at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. No active lava or signs of increased activity were observed here. The crater walls expose a clear sequence of lava flows and cinder that built the cone in the early 1980s.

This 3D model of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō's crater was created from thermal images during an overflight of the cone. The deepest portion of the crater is about 320 meters (1050 feet) below the crater floor that existed prior to April 30.
Routine overflight of the Lower East Rift Zone

Fissure 22 was active in late May near Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, which is now mostly buried by lava flows. During the later stages of Fissure 22 activity, small strombolian-style explosions built a symmetric cinder cone over the vent.