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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.

June 21, 2017
Active surface breakouts continue near the 61g vent

On June 13 at about 6:00 am, there was a new pāhoehoe breakout along the episode 61g tube system approximately 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the vent. Today (June 21), geologists visiting the site found that the ground had been cracked and uplifted about 2 m (6.6 feet) where the breakout originated (center). This is the closest active breakout to Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and the 61g vent, and also the largest on the flow field. Smaller scattered surface flows from the March 5 breakout remain active, but all lava flow activity is on the upper flow field above the pali.

The ocean entry remains active and continues to increase the size of the Kamokuna lava delta. Today, activity was concentrated towards the western side of the delta (left center), and building outward in a narrow lobe. Surface flows on the delta over the past few weeks have covered most of the delta with new lava.
June 16, 2017
No visible breakouts on the coastal plain

The scattered breakouts that have been active on the steep part of the pali and at the base over the past few weeks were not visible this afternoon. The recent surface breakouts (pictured) were still warm, but no longer actively flowing.

Left: The episode 61g flow continues to enter the ocean and build the delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry. Small streams of lava along the front of the delta interact with the ocean and produce a large steam plume and occasional littoral bursts. There were no large delta cracks visible, but a surface flow covering part of the delta (silver lava) could have covered any in the area. Right: Photo of a crack (center right) in the sea cliff inland of the ocean entry.
June 4, 2017
Different textures on the surface of the summit lava lake

The activity in the summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u has been typical in recent weeks, with the normal fluctuations in lava level. The low sun angle during the late afternoon provided good views of the different surface textures on the lake.

Left: Subtle folds are common on the lake surface, suggesting that the crust on the lake surface is thin and flexible. In addition, small "blisters" cover large portions of the lake surface. HVO geologists have seen these blisters form, and they appear to be small bubbles that rise and push up the thin crust, without breaking it. The field of view in this photo is roughly 50 meters (yards) wide. Right: A clearer picture of the folding on the lake surface, which resemble folds in a piece of thin fabric. The field of view in this photo is roughly 50 meters (yards) wide.

A view of the northern Overlook crater wall, through passing fume. The lake surface (lower left in photo) was about 22 meters (72 feet) below the crater rim (upper right in photo). The uppermost section of the crater wall is formed by stacks of thin overflows from mid-2015. The main section of the wall, with a light pink color here, is the older portions of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater floor, formed from lava flows that filled the crater decades ago. At the base of the wall, spattering from the lake has deposited a thin black veneer of lava on the crater wall. Sometimes these spatter deposits built out small ledges, and form bulbous protrusions (center of photo) when the lake level drops.
May 31, 2017
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Jaggar Museum

Mauna Loa looms in the background behind the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Jaggar Museum complex, perched at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. The cliff in the foreground is Kīlauea's caldera rim.
Halema‘uma‘u lava lake

Left: View looking southeast along the long axis of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea's summit. The lava lake is about 260 m (285 yd) long and 200 m (220 yd) wide. Right: View looking northeast at Kīlauea's summit lava lake.
The Kamokuna ocean entry and lava delta

Left: Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry is fed by lava that erupts from the east flank of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone, visible on the skyline at upper left. It travels from the vent to the ocean via a lava tube, marked in places by fume emanating from the tube roof. Right: Steep aerial view of the Kamokuna lava delta.

View of the Kamokuna lava delta and the lava structure encasing the lava stream where it emerges from the mouth of the lava tube in the face of the sea cliff.

This video clip shows HVO geologist Tim Orr sampling lava from an active pāhoehoe breakout on the episode 61g lava flow. The chemistry of these lava samples provides information on the magma plumbing system. Sampling has been a regular part of monitoring Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption.
May 28, 2017
Spattering on summit lava lake and Pele's hair around Halema‘uma‘u

Left: Spattering on the summit lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u is ever-changing, but on Sunday (May 28), two sources could be seen—one on the north side of the lake (bright area at left) and one on the southeast side (right). A close-up view of the southeast spattering source is shown in the adjacent photo. Right: Spattering is common in the summit lava lake, and this photo shows spattering in the southeast corner of the lake. Spatter accumulation on the lake margins has built up several small peninsulas that extend a few meters (yards) out from the crater wall.

Numerous fumaroles are present near the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater, and are evident by the bright yellow sulfur deposits. In recent years these fumaroles have been covered by a thick carpet of Pele's hair produced by the lava lake. Moisture emitted by the fumaroles collects as tiny water droplets on the fine hairs, resembling a thin dusting of snow.
May 27, 2017
Sluggish breakouts near the base of the pali

Sluggish pāhoehoe breakouts remain active on the coastal plain, near the base of the pali. Over the past week, these breakouts have not advanced any significant distance. There were also several small lava channels on the steep section of the pali today (May 27).

A close up of one of the typical pāhoehoe toes.
May 23, 2017
61g flow is active at the Kamokuna ocean entry and at the base of the pali

The lava delta at Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry continues to grow. On May 23, activity was concentrated near the southeastern tip of the delta, creating a thick steam plume that afforded only occasional glimpses of lava entering the ocean. Small littoral bursts were common as molten lava interacted with the cool seawater. Many narrow cracks parallel to the sea cliff could be seen on the delta surface.

Left: A telephoto view of where the 61g lava tube exits the sea cliff. The upper portion of the firehose flow, visible from early January to late March 2017, is now crusted over, but lava within the tube continues to feed the growing lava delta. Right: Zooming in even closer, the top of the crusted-over firehose flow can be seen. Cracks in the hardened tube surface reveal incandescent lava flowing though the tube. Fume from the degassing lava also escapes through these cracks.

The March 5 breakout of the 61g flow is producing active surface flows on and at the base of the pali (cliff). The slow-moving pāhoehoe flow front (foreground) was approximately 400 meters (yards) beyond the base of the pali on the afternoon of May 23. An ‘a‘ā channel (center) made its way down the pali, along with other small breakouts and channels of ‘a‘ā and pāhoehoe scattered to the west of the main 61g lava tube (visible degassing at upper right).
May 7, 2017
Lava delta at Kamokuna ocean entry is rebuilding

Left: The lava delta at Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry is quickly rebuilding after the collapse on May 3, when much of the previous delta collapsed into the sea. A robust steam plume obscured the seaward section of the delta today (May 7). Right: A telephoto lens provided a close-up view of the seaward edge of the Kamokuna lava delta, where multiple, small streams of lava were entering the ocean today. Fragments of hot lava can be seen floating in the water.
May 4, 2017
Kamokuna lava delta: collapse on May 3 and how it looked today

Left: On May 3, Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna lava delta, which had been growing since late March, collapsed. An HVO time-lapse camera captured the sequence of events in five-minute intervals. This image shows the lava delta at 7:50 a.m. HST, a couple of hours before the collapse. Right: Between 9:35 and 9:40 a.m., a large steam plume appeared in the middle of Kamokuna lava delta in the area of large cracks noted in our April 27 image (see below). Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra is visible in the steaming area, but that activity ended by 9:40 a.m. Images captured over the next 25 minutes show that the steam plume in the middle of the delta weakened, and the delta surface surrounding the steaming area subsided.

Left: Within five minutes, between 9:55 and 10:00 a.m. HST, nearly the entire delta disappeared, collapsing into the sea. The collapsed area cut back toward the sea cliff, past the largest crack on the delta. In this image, captured at 10:05 a.m., the seawater is brown and turbulent. Large blocks of steaming rocks are visible on top of a narrow slice of the remaining delta (center). These rocks were likely washed ashore by a small, localized tsunami generated by the collapse. During the next few hours, small pieces of the remnant delta continued to flake off and disappear into the ocean. Right: This morning (May 4), the Kamokuna ocean entry was obscured by a thick steam plume at the base of the cliff. Sparse littoral bursts, occasionally visible through the plume, were the source of the floating, steaming lava fragments that can be seen in the ocean near the entry.
April 27, 2017
Delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry slowly growing

The episode 61g Kamokuna ocean entry has been slowly building a new lava delta for a little over a month now. Since our April 15 post, the delta has grown substantially. Two large cracks parallel to the coast are visible on the delta (center), with the distal portion slumping slightly seaward—suggesting further instability. Today, the ocean entry activity, most of which was located along the western side of the delta and obscured by the thick plume, was producing occasional weak littoral explosions.
Kīlauea summit lava lake level falls with return to deflation

Left: Early this morning the lava lake level was measured at 12.5 m (41 ft) below the vent rim, the highest level the lake reached this month. But, at around 8:30 a.m., summit inflation switched to deflation and the lava lake level began to drop. Right: By mid-afternoon, when these photos were taken, the drop in the lava lake level was obvious. A "bathtub ring" of black lava forming a rim on the vent wall (between the lighter-colored rocks higher in the wall and the surface of the lava lake) provides a record of the lake's previous higher level.