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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.

July 21, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Left: Fissure 8, source of the white gas plume in the distance, continues to erupt lava into the channel heading northeastward from the vent. Near Kapoho Crater (lower left), the channel turns south, sending lava toward the coast, where it enters the ocean in the Ahalanui area (shown in adjacent photo). Channel overflows are visible in the lower right. Right: This aerial view, looking to the southwest, shows the most vigorous ocean entry of the fissure 8 flow, which is located a few hundred meters (yards) northeast of the southern flow margin.

During HVO's early morning helicopter overflight along the coastline, orange streams of lava were entering the ocean in the vicinity of Ahalanui. Strong trade winds were pushing the white laze plumes inland.

Left: Using cell phones, USGS scientists can quickly relay information to emergency managers, even during helicopter overflights. Coordinates for the active ocean entry, lava channel overflows, or other hazards observed by field geologists can be communicated in near real-time to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and other public safety officials who make decisions about closures or evacuations. Right: The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) team prepares for their overnight flights of fissure 8 and the upper lava channel. UAS assist with the USGS eruption response by flying missions into hazardous areas, collecting data on lava channel velocities and locating channel overflows. UAS can also collect thermal and gas data and look for changes at other vents along the fissure system.

Left: USGS gas geochemists set up a specialized camera near fissure 8 to measure sulfur dioxide in the gas plume rising from the vent. Right: USGS field crews set up a gravimeter to collect data on where magma might reside in Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone.
July 20, 2018
Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone

Left: During their early morning overflight, USGS scientists captured this view showing three of the five volcanoes that comprise the Island of Hawai‘i: Mauna Loa (distant upper left), Mauna Kea (distant right), and Kīlauea (foreground), with the fissure 8 vent and channelized lava flow on the volcano's lower East Rift Zone. Right: An aerial view of the southernmost ocean entry lava lobe. As of 6:30 a.m. HST, the south margin of the lava flow had not changed since yesterday, and was about 500 m (0.3 mi) from the boat ramp at Isaac Hale Park.
Kīlauea summit

Left: This telephoto image, looking across Kīlauea's summit from the northeast rim of the caldera, shows rubble dislodged from a cliff just north of the South Sulphur Bank, with the 1974 gully between. With such rubble, it is no wonder that dust clouds were so prominent in this area after yesterday's collapse event. Right: This photo provides context for the adjacent image. South Sulphur Bank is the light yellow area at right.

Near the center of the photo, a section of the former Crater Rim Drive on Kīlauea's caldera floor is just barely visible. That section of road has been chopped off by the crater just east of where it fed the former Halema‘uma‘u visitor overlook parking lot. Beyond the road, are cracks cutting Sand Spit, the ash-coated 1921 lava flow, and the cliff that more or less forms the boundary of the topographic caldera.

Repeat photography from the same location helps USGS scientists see subtle changes at Halema‘uma‘u and the summit caldera landscape. This image, taken from HVO's current observation point, will be inserted into a time series of photos that document the evolution of the growing crater.
July 19, 2018
Kīlauea summit activity

Numerous rockfalls have occurred within Halema‘uma‘u and along Kīlauea's summit caldera walls today, stirring up existing ash deposits and rock dust, and creating sounds that, at times, could be heard from the northeast rim of the caldera.
Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone

Left: This HVO geologist is standing on tephra (airborne lava fragments, such as Pele's hair) that was erupted from and deposited downwind of the fissure 8 vent. He was there to observe the vent activity and to capture both thermal and video imagery of the pulsations occurring in the near-vent channel. The frame of a water catchment tank cover can be seen in the tephra deposit to the left of the geologist's camera and tripod (center). Right: Volcanic gases rising from the fissure 8 vent and lava channel feed a pyrocumulonimbus cloud above the tephra cone. Small pits in the tephra deposit (foreground) form when the lava fragments collapse into cracks and void spaces below the surface.

Left: An aerial view looking to the west, near the braided section of the fissure 8 lava channel. During this morning's overflight, the channelized lava was at a lower level than usual, but was still being fed by vigorous outflow from the vent. Right: An aerial view looking south, with the fissure 8 lava channel on the west side of Kapoho Crater, visible at left. As it nears the ocean, the channelized lava transitions to a broad ‘a‘ā flow that spreads laterally and toward the coast. The ocean entry plume is barely visible in the far distance (top).

As of this morning, the southern margin of the fissure 8 ocean entry was about 500 m (0.3 mi) from the boat ramp at Isaac Hale Park.
July 18, 2018
Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone eruption

Left: The fissure 8 cone (right) and proximal lava channel were partially obscured by volcanic gas emissions this morning. In concert with surges in the eruptive activity, lava levels were fluctuating over periods of about five minutes. Deposits of tephra (airborne lava fragments, such as Pele's hair) blanket the foreground area. Right: An increase in lava supply overnight produced several lava channel overflows that threatened homes on Nohea street in the Leilani Estates subdivision; farther downstream, lava overflowed both sides of the channel. By mid-morning, the overflows had stalled (flow shown here). For scale, a person's leg and boot are just visible on the right center edge of this photo.

Left: Several lobes of fissure 8 lava are entering the ocean along a broad front, with the southwestern edge of the entry shown here. The southern margin of the lava flow was about 700 m (0.4 mi) from the Pohoiki boat ramp this morning. Right: As of around 6:00 a.m. HST today, the southwestern-most part of the ocean entry was adjacent to a surf spot known as "Bowls and Shacks."

In this July 14, 2018, video captured by the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) team, lava was erupting from within the 120-foot-high fissure 8 cinder cone built of chilled lava fragments. Lava emerging from the cone was traveling about 13-16 miles per hour, flowing freely over a small set of cascades (rapids) and into a perched channel that was as much as 50 feet above the ground surface. The fissure 8 lava flow channel extends about 8 miles to the active ocean entry. UAS are assisting in the USGS eruption response. Hovering at about 1000 feet above hazardous areas, UAS collect video and images to map lava flow boundaries, track overflows, and help assess channel velocities. UAS can also carry sensors to collect thermal and gas data.
July 17, 2018
Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone

Left: During this morning's overflight, USGS scientists captured this image of sunrise above Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone. Fissure 8 continues to feed a channelized lava flow that reaches the ocean, forming a large plume at the coast (upper right). Right: During their overflight, scientists used a telephoto lens to photograph the surface of the fissure 8 lava channel. Incandescent lava is visible through pieces of darker crust that forms as the flow surface cools. Note the apparent symmetry on either side of the channel center, where lava flows more quickly than it does along the channel margins—a visual representation of flow velocity across the channel width.

South margin of the fissure 8 lava flow ocean entry. As of this morning, the flow was about 750 m (just under 0.5 mi) from the Pohoiki boat ramp.
Kīlauea Volcano's summit

Since early May 2018, the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater has dropped 450 m (about 1480 ft). Extensive cracking and faulting around the crater, along with inward slumping of the crater rim, has more than doubled its diameter. Like a balloon slowly losing air, subsidence occurs because magma in Kīlauea's shallow summit reservoir is moving into the East Rift Zone more rapidly than magma is being supplied from depth. Images collected during a helicopter overflight of the summit area on July 13, 2018, were used to produce this digital elevation model showing current conditions at Kīlauea.

Listen to the sounds of rockfalls at Kīlauea Volcano's summit in this short video taken from the northeast rim of the caldera. At 2:42 p.m. HST on July 12, 2018, a collapse/explosion event at Kīlauea's summit released energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. Rockfalls that occurred in Halema‘uma‘u and along the steep summit caldera walls during the event can be heard in this video.
Kīlauea Volcano's middle East Rift Zone—Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

Left: During a helicopter overflight on July 13, 2018, USGS scientists captured this image of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. On April 30, 2018, the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor collapsed and an intrusion of magma migrated down Kīlauea's East Rift Zone, advancing below ground toward the lower Puna District, leading to a series of fissure eruptions in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Since then, detected volcanic activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō has been minimal. Right: Clear conditions at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on July 13, 2018, provided good views into the crater. As the steep crater rim slowly slumps inward and downward, rock rubble fills the base of the vent.
July 16, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Left: USGS field crews monitor Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone eruption around the clock. Here, a scientist takes video of lava as it exits the fissure 8 cinder cone. The video helps document lava flow behavior, including flow velocity and cooling characteristics, as well as changes to the lava channel. Right: A radar gun, similar to that used in traffic enforcement, is one way that the approximate speed of lava can be measured as it exits the fissure 8 vent. At the time of this measurement, the flow velocity averaged 18 miles per hour.

An aerial view of Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone taken during HVO's early morning overflight today—looking to the west, up the lava channel toward fissure 8 (center, far distance). The fissure 8 channel was full this morning, but lava was not quite up to the levee rim, so there were no significant overflows.

The active ocean entry along the southernmost margin of the fissure 8 flow is a hazardous area. The interaction of lava and seawater creates "laze," a corrosive steam plume laced with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic glass particles that is blown downwind and can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. Lava flows entering the ocean can also result in explosive interactions, littoral explosions, that can hurl fragments of molten lava and rocky debris hundreds of meters (yards) inland and seaward.
Satellite radar animation shows continued slumping of Kīlauea caldera

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and July 16 at about 6:00 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the return, with bright areas indicating a strong return and dark areas a weak return. Strong returns indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak returns come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are obvious. Starting in late May, the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u is clear, and inward slumping of a large portion of the western, southwestern, and northern crater rim begins. Much of this motion appears to be coincident with the small explosions from the summit that have taken place on a near daily basis since early June. The most recent radar scene, from July 16, shows continued motion along cracks over a broader area of the caldera floor, extending east of Halema‘uma‘u. We expect this slumping to continue as long as the collapse events and overall subsidence persist.
July 15, 2018
Eruption in lower East Rift Zone continues

Left: View of fissure 8 looking uprift toward the west. The open lava channel in upper right leads to the ocean; when the photo was taken this early morning, nearly all of the lava erupting from fissure 8 was in the channel. Some lava was spilling eastward to form a slowly advancing flow (middle foreground) atop earlier lava flows. This flow stalled within hours. Right: Laze plume rises where lava pours into the sea on the south margin of the fissure 8 flow. This southern boundary did not change location appreciably in the past day, remaining about 900 m (0.56 mi) from the boat ramp at Isaac Hale Park.
Kīlauea summit

Left: A USGS geologist services a camera that captures time-lapse images of Kīlauea's summit caldera and Halema‘uma‘u. To minimize risk from ongoing summit earthquakes, this work is done during the relatively quiet hours following summit collapse events when seismicity is at its lowest levels. Right: View of growing Halema‘uma‘u from the southeast side of Kīlauea Crater.
July 14, 2018
Fissure 8 continues to erupt, open lava channel entering ocean

Left: Early morning view of fissure 8 and lava channel looking toward the east. Laze plume from the ocean entry is visible in distance (left of the fissure 8 plume). Geologists did not observe activity from any of the other fissures during this morning's overflight. Right: White laze plumes mark locations where lava enters the ocean over a broad area. An open lava channel flows into the ocean at the southern-most plume (middle) near the southern flow margin. The boat ramp at Isaac Hale Park is about 940 m (0.58 mi) farther south of the flow margin. View is toward the west-southwest.
Kīlauea summit

A stunning panoramic view of Kīlauea's summit captured shortly after the 7:08 p.m. HST summit collapse event on Friday, July 13. Ashy dust stirred up by rockfalls can be seen rising from within Halema‘uma‘u (center) and the caldera wall (far right).
July 13, 2018
Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone lava flows

Fissure 8 continues to be the primary erupting vent on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone, although several other fissures were observed steaming during this morning's overflight. This aerial image shows the fissure 8 vent (near center), channelized flow, and distant ocean entry (upper right).

Left: The braided lava channel extending from the fissure 8 vent (near top, center) and flowing toward the ocean. Some of the abandoned connector channels were more obvious in this morning's light than on previous days. Right: Continuation of the main fissure 8 channel, which is now flowing on the west side of Kapoho Crater (left) and was entering the ocean about 300 meters west of the Kapoho ocean entry this morning (steam plume in far distance).

Left: A tiny new island of lava has formed on the northernmost part of the ocean entry. During this morning's overflight, HVO's field crew noticed the island was oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline. Right: A closer view of the new "island," which was estimated to be just a few meters offshore, and perhaps 6-9 meters (20-30 ft) in diameter. It's most likely part of the fissure 8 flow that's entering the ocean—and possibly a submarine tumulus that built up underwater and emerged above sea level.

A robust plume (center) was observed this morning at the southern end of the ocean entry, which had migrated about 300 m (985 ft) to the west. The ocean front east of Kapoho appeared to be reduced, with a more diffuse laze plume this morning (upper left).

Sink holes (dark spots to right of large tree) are beginning to form along fractures beneath the field of tephra that has formed downwind of fissure 8. Tephra (Pele's hair and other airborne volcanic glass fragments) from the fissure 8 lava fountains continues to fall downwind, covering the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the active vent. High winds can waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

This Hawai‘i County Fire Department aerial image shows Kapoho Crater with the most active branch of the fissure 8 lava channel now to the west (right) of the cone and feeding a robust ocean entry. The path of the fissure 8 channel prior to being diverted can be seen east (below and left) of the crater; despite no visible surface connection between this branch and the sea, lava continues to feed a broad ocean entry, forming a diffuse laze plume.
Kīlauea summit

USGS scientists captured this stunning aerial photo of Halema‘uma‘u and part of the Kīlauea caldera floor during a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's summit this morning. In the lower third of the image, you can see the buildings that housed the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's Jaggar Museum, the museum parking area, and a section of the Park's Crater Rim Drive. Although recent summit explosions have produced little ash, the drab gray landscape is a result of multiple thin layers of ash that have blanketed the summit area during the ongoing explosions.

View of Halema‘uma‘u and Kīlauea caldera just before 8:00 a.m. HST today, as seen from HVO's observation point near Volcano House. Gusty winds were blowing quite a lot of rock-fall dust, visible both within and along the rim of the crater.
July 12, 2018
Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone lava

Left: Aerial view toward the west from directly above Kapoho Crater. After being blocked and diverted yesterday, the fissure 8 lava channel now bends sharply to the south on the western edge of the crater. Right: View of the fissure 8 lava channel looking toward the southeast. Fume in the center left is rising from overflows where the lava channel bends to the south before reaching Kapoho Crater. Ocean entries can be seen on the horizon near Kapoho (left) and just offshore of Ahalanui Beach Park, also known as "Warm Ponds" (right).

In this aerial view looking to the north, a robust ocean entry plume can be seen rising from just offshore of Ahalanui Beach Park, which was inundated with lava yesterday. Beyond this entry, a more diffuse plume from the ocean entry at Kapoho is visible (upper right).

This compilation of video from HVO's early morning overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone shows (1) lava from fissure 8 moving through a perched channel toward the northeast, (2) the diverted channelized ‘a‘ā flow west of Kapoho Crater, and (3) a vigorous ocean entry along the southern coastline in the vicinity of Ahalanui Beach Park (Warm Ponds).

A whirlwind spins skyward on the northwest side of the fissure 8 cinder cone in this video taken on July 10, 2018. A number of whirlwinds have formed in the area due to the extreme heat of the open lava channel heating the air above it. As the heated air quickly rises, a light wind can push the air column to begin a rotation, which spins faster as it is stretched and narrowed. Because of recurring rainfall near the fissure, moisture and clouds made the whirlwind easier to see for the brief time period it was active. The brown plume is gases rising from the fissure 8 lava fountain.
Kīlauea summit activity

This time-lapse video shows Halema‘uma‘u and Kīlauea Caldera as seen from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It includes roughly one image for every day between April 14, 2018, and July 11, 2018. The lava lake is visible early in the video, with overflows onto the caldera floor on April 23, but the lake vanishes from sight in early May as pressure in the summit magma reservoir decreases. Gas and ash plumes associated with explosive activity are visible in May. Large-scale subsidence of the caldera floor around Halema‘uma‘u begins at the end of May and continues to the present. The volume of Halema‘uma‘u is now more than seven times larger than it was before the onset of this subsidence.