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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.

August 15, 2017
Flow front stalled on coastal plain

The flow front of the June 26 breakout (pictured above) has stalled. On the coastal plain today, the closest active breakouts found by HVO geologists were 2.1 km (1.3 miles) upslope from the emergency route. There were a few areas of active pāhoehoe breakouts which varied from sluggish ropey textures to thin and fluid flows.

Cracks on the Kamokuna lava delta continue to develop. These photos from July 31 (left) and today, August 15 (right), highlight changes on the delta during the past two weeks. The yellow numbers mark a few prominent features on the delta (1 & 3) and older sea cliff (2 & 4). A new crack (1) formed over the two weeks and appears to span most of the delta, and a crack closer to the cliff (3) has widened and extended to the west. Time-lapse images during the past two weeks showed slight widening of the large crack and subtle subsidence of the delta. Continued development of these and other cracks underline the hazardous nature of an ocean entry, and why it is important to take heed of all warning signs and area closures.
August 9, 2017
Activity continues on the 61g flow field and at the ocean entry

At the Kamokuna ocean entry, the lava delta is active and slowly growing. As of today, the delta is about 6.8 acres (2.8 hectares) in size. Many coast-parallel cracks are visible on the delta, including a large crack near the center that spans the entire width of the delta. A few small streams of lava entering the ocean can be seen near the front of the delta.

The June 26 breakout (lighter-colored flow in the center of the photo) is active on the coastal plain and at the flow front. There's been no significant advancement of the flow front since July 31. Today, active breakouts were located roughly 1.5 km (0.9 mile) from the emergency route. Scattered surface flows are active on much of the upper flow field (above the pali) from three separate breakouts that started on June 13, 26 and July 26.

While mapping the flow margins, HVO geologists found an opening into an old lava tube system that has been partly filled with episode 61g lava. Most of the cooled lava cascades were intact and sitting on top of rubble from the caved-in roof of the abandoned tube. The opening in the tube (right) was partially filled with new lava, but was still roughly 3 m (10 ft) high.
August 7, 2017
Time-lapse sequence shows Halema‘uma‘u gas plume

This time-lapse sequence shows the outgassing plume from the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea. The images were captured by a camera on the flank of Mauna Loa on May 19, 2017. As the plume rose from the vent, it reached the atmospheric inversion layer, which effectively capped the height of the plume.
July 31, 2017
Kamokuna lava delta subsidence continues

The episode 61g lava delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry is unstable with many cracks parallel to the coast. Comparing time-lapse images from July 22 (left) and July 31 (right), the large crack in the center of the delta continues to widen. There are many smaller cracks on the delta as well, including a newly formed crack near the base of the cliff (not visible in the images). Other changes over the past ten days include a small slice of delta breaking off near the front on July 28, and multiple surface flows around the front edges of the delta. During HVO's visit to the coast today (July 31), two lava entry points were producing a robust steam plume. With strong westerly winds, the plume was blowing onshore, covering sections of the emergency route and rope line on the National Park side and creating unpleasant walking conditions in some areas.

Left: On the coastal plain, the front of the June 26 breakout was stalled approximately 1.5 km (0.9 mile) from the emergency route road. The flow front had advanced approximately 300 m (0.2 mile) since HVO last mapped it on July 25. A couple of weak surface breakouts were observed near the flow front, with the closest about 50 m (yards) behind the stalled front. Gas emissions from the main 61g flow tube (left) and June 26 breakout tube (right) can be seen on the steep part of the pali (cliff) in the distance. Right: This viscous, slow-moving ropy pāhoehoe flow was one of only two weak surface breakouts observed by HVO geologists.
July 29, 2017
Summit lava lake level continues dropping

The summit lava lake level continued to drop through Saturday July 29 as the summit deflated. Rockfalls from the Overlook crater walls have been frequent over the past two days, due to the lowering lava level, and these collapses trigger spattering in the lake. The spattering in this telephoto image created a local sink in the lake, causing surrounding crust to plunge towards the spattering.
July 28, 2017
Time-lapse sequence of lava delta subsidence at ocean entry

This movie shows a sequence of 8 time-lapse photos—one photo per day from July 6 to July 13, 2017—of the lava delta at Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry. The sequence shows the front of the delta subsiding, and cracks running parallel to the coast widening, over the 8-day time period. The short movie is looped numerous times to help viewers detect these subtle changes in the delta, which are reminders that lava deltas are unstable features that can collapse without warning. Two lava delta collapses have already occurred at the Kamokuna ocean entry—on Dec. 31, 2016, and on May 3, 2017.
Lava lake level drops as summit deflates

Summit deflation over the past day occurred as part of a deflation-inflation (DI) event, and, as usual with deflation, the lava lake level dropped. Over the past two days the lake level has dropped about 20 m (66 ft). The previous level is marked by the top of the black ring of lava veneer on the Overlook crater wall (visible just to the left of the spattering sites).

HVO geologists captured this image of a Koa‘e kea (white-tailed tropicbird) flying high over the summit lava lake this morning (visible between the two spattering sources). These graceful birds nest in the crater walls of Halema‘uma‘u and other rocky cliffs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, but fly to the ocean to feed. From the Jaggar Museum overlook, Koa‘e kea can often be seen flying around Halema‘uma‘u and the outgassing plume from the lava lake.
July 25, 2017
Weak, scattered breakouts on the coastal plain

Scattered breakouts continue on the coastal plain inland of the Kamokuna ocean entry, but are relatively weak and have not advanced much over the past week. Breakouts were located about 1.8 km (1.1 miles) upslope of the emergency access road.
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.