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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.

October 13, 2017
Pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain

Scattered breakouts today (October 13) on the western 61g flow margin were mapped at 1.3 km (0.8 mi) from the closest portion of the emergency road. The small pāhoehoe breakouts put on a show as they slowly oozed out of growing cracks that were forced open by flow inflation (pictured).
October 12, 2017
Breakouts remain active on flow field, changes to ocean entry lava delta

Surface breakouts (light in color) remain active on the upper coastal plain. These breakouts are fed by both the main eastern tube—left of the kipuka and below the tube's fume trace on the pali—and from the eastern June 26 breakout branch, visible to the right of the kipuka. The leading edge of the coastal plain breakouts is on the western (left) flow margin and is approximately 1.3 km (0.8 mi) from the closest section of the emergency road. At the Kamokuna ocean entry, recent breakouts near the edge of the cliff (lighter in color) have been spilling onto the lava delta (foreground) for the past few weeks, resurfacing almost the entire area of the delta. The misty day obscured a view of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, which, on a clear day, would be visible on the skyline in the center of the photo.

Left: Today (October 12), the Kamokuna lava delta was measured at roughly 11 acres (4.5 hectares) in size. Over the past two months, several lava tube breakouts on the sea cliff have spilled lava onto the delta. On the delta, ‘A‘ā (darker color) and pāhoehoe (lighter color) flows have resurfaced much of the area in the past few weeks, covering the many surface cracks noted in previous photos. Although the cracks are no longer visible, subsurface cracks still remain, as does the hazard of delta instability. The area directly upslope of the ocean entry is hazardous as well, with ground fracturing and lava tube breakouts occurring over the past few months. Right: A view of the upper coastal plain breakouts on the episode 61g flow field. The majority of the active surface flows on the coastal plain are being fed by the June 26 breakout branch on the eastern margin of the flow field (right). A smaller area of active lava in the upper western flow field (left) is being fed from a breakout of the main 61g lava tube near the base of the pali.

HVO geologists relocate a time-lapse camera on the rim of the west pit lava pond in the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater. Over the past several months, the camera has been slowly tilting downward due to soft, altered ground beneath it, and the general instability of the rim. The new location, about 20 m (yards) to the south, appears to be more stable and less altered. Weak spattering was visible in the west pit lava pond (at the incandescent area near the center of the image) today.
October 10, 2017
Kamokuna Lavafalls Oct 3-5

Time-lapse movie showing 2.5 days of lava falls onto the western side of Kamokuna delta on Kīlauea Volcano. The movie starts just before sunset on Monday Oct 2nd, 2017, and ends in the morning of Oct 5th, 2017. The breakout feeding these lava falls is above the delta on the sea cliff, and this activity may be a continuation of a previous breakout on Sept 23. Lava falls occurred repetitively throughout the whole week, thickening the western edge along the sea cliff.
October 8, 2017
Breakouts remain active on the coastal plain and pali

Pāhoehoe breakouts remain scattered on the coastal plain, but have not advanced significantly in recent weeks. In addition, small channelized ‘a‘ā flows have been recently active on the steep slopes of the pali. The pali can be seen in the distance in this photo.

This video clip shows typical pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain, as well as a small channelized ‘a‘ā flow on the pali.
October 6, 2017
Coastal breakouts put on a show

There were clear views of the delta today (October 6), with only weak plumes being produced by the few ocean entries. Multiple pāhoehoe streams and drips entered the ocean on the east side of the delta (pictured).

Over the past two weeks, there have been at least three breakouts within 100 m (330 ft) of the Kamokuna ocean entry. The western-most breakout (pictured above) had no visible surface breakouts on the cliff today (October 6), but was producing a nice cascading ‘a‘ā flow off the edge of the cliff and onto the delta. These lava cascades have been occurring often starting on October 1 just after 10:00 pm (HST), and consisted of both ‘a‘ā and pāhoehoe flows onto the delta. There was a weak plume originating from several lava entry points on the delta today, visible on the right side of the photo.

Left: Image taken by a time-lapse camera of multiple lava cascades on the sea cliff on October 4 at 3:31 am (HST). Just a few of the many resulting surface flows can be seen on the delta both below the cliff and near the front, which is lit by lava and moonlight. Right: Image taken by a time-lapse camera on October 5 at 6:11 pm (HST), with the lava streams showing up nicely as the sun starts to go down.

A small channel flowing down the cliff to the delta creates an ‘a‘ā fan at its distal tip. Many lava falls over the past week have locally built up the height of the sea cliff and covered much of the blocky rigid cliff face.
September 26, 2017
Clear views at the ocean entry

A weak plume today (September 26) on the far (west) side of the delta provided great views of changes at the ocean entry. Over the past few weeks there have been repeated breakouts on the delta which have resurfaced over half of the roughly 10 acre (4 hectare) delta, as mapped on September 21. Many of the large delta cracks have been completely or partially covered by flows, but hazards at the ocean entry have not changed. On the far right cliff horizon, a thin silver flow that started on September 23 is just visible.

A view of the breakout point of the easternmost of two short-lived breakouts that began on September 23. This thin pāhoehoe breakout (lighter flow in center of photo) started approximately 45 m (49 yards) upslope of the sea cliff, and on the eastern side of the lava tube that feeds the ocean entry. This breakout stopped just before it reached the edge of the sea cliff.

This western breakout also began on September 23, at a distance of approximately 90 m (98 yards) from the sea cliff. This pāhoehoe (bottom edge has a yellow dotted outline) was more viscous than the breakout to the east, so the surface texture is less smooth and reflective, making it harder to distinguish between the older flows. The western breakout was also short-lived, and is no longer active, but did reach the sea cliff with a brief dribble over the edge. The littoral cone is visible in the center right of the photo with light gas fumes from the tube exit point onto the delta. The lighter eastern breakout is just visible abutting the littoral cone.
September 21, 2017
Good views of Halema‘uma‘u's lava lake

Aerial view of Halema‘uma‘u, showing typical spattering activity at the south lake margin. Golden brown Pele's hair is covering the previous lake overflows which are darker in color. The plume was light at the time of the overflight, allowing a view of the southern wall, which recently experienced two collapses exposing the lighter wall rock beneath.
Continued breakouts on the coastal plain, and farther upslope

Aerial view from the top of the pali, looking towards the ocean entry. The lighter silver lava flow breakouts over the past week have spread out at the base of the pali. The closest location of activity is 1.6 km (1 mile) from the gravel road. Fume is rising from the main lava tube on the right of the image. The coastal entry plume is on the horizon, staying close to the ground near the Kamokuna delta.

The front half of the lava delta is shown, with an open lava stream left of center. In the upper left is a circular rubble feature, called a shatter ring, which formed between Aug 15 and Sept 19, and is the source of many of the lava flows on the left (west) side of the image. Yellow sulfur can be seen on some areas on the delta as well, especially on the right hand side of this image. Today the delta was measured at approximately 10 acres (4 hectares) in size.

Left: HVO geologists change data cards on a time-lapse camera positioned on the rim of the west pit within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater. A lava pond has been active in this pit for over a year, and the time-lapse camera tracks changes in the pond activity. Right: An example time-lapse image from the camera shown to the left. This image is from September 14 and shows typical activity in the lava pond, with spattering along the western pond margin.
September 20, 2017
Deformation of the lava delta continues

This video shows the Kamokuna lava delta growing and sinking over a 1 month time span between 15 August 2017 and 19 September 2017. Made from one image every other day. The video is looped 10 times, with the loop number in the upper left corner. As the delta grows and builds outwards, the front of the delta sinks and lowers into the ocean if there is not enough support below it to build outwards. The delta often cracks as it bends and deforms while sinking, allowing lava to cover its surface by coming out of the cracks or the main tube. This masks the effect of the delta sinking because the new material on top appears at the same height as the slightly older material, but in fact the front of the delta is sinking relatively quickly.

A shatter ring forms and grows on the Kamokuna lava delta. This video shows repeated uplift and subsidence of the delta surface by the lava supply under the surface. This process creates a large round rubble pile, called a shatter ring. The uplift is caused by extra lava accumulating in the tube, either from more volume coming in, or from a blockage that does not allow lava to pass through easily. If the rock breaks, which often happens around the base at the flexure point, then lava can flow out of the tube and onto the surface, causing the uplift to reverse.
September 19, 2017
Activity continues at the growing lava delta

Left: There were nice views of the 61g lava delta today (September 19) from the public viewing area. Many streams of lava were entering the ocean on the eastern side of the delta creating a robust plume. Over the past week, there have been repeated breakouts near the center of the delta, increasing its size. The delta size was roughly 10 acres (4 hectares), when measured using a satellite image of the delta taken on September 4. Right: A telephoto of a stream of lava pouring from the delta to the beach below. As the cold sea water hits the hot lava, explosive interactions break apart the rock to form the sandy beach seen at the deltas base.
September 13, 2017
Continued spattering in the summit lava lake

This panorama, taken from the eastern rim of Halema‘uma‘u, shows the lava lake within the Overlook crater. The lake surface this morning was about 40 meters (130 ft) below the floor of Halema‘uma‘u. Mauna Loa spans much of the skyline near the center of the image; HVO and Jaggar Museum can be seen on the distant caldera rim (right side of image).

Wispy fumes provided a clear view of the western wall of the Overlook crater this morning. Just above the lake surface (bottom of photo), a "bathtub ring" extends up the wall several meters, marking a recent high stand of the lake. Above that, a thick span of red, white and yellow rock is exposed in the crater wall. The colors originate from oxidation and alteration of older lava that filled Halema‘uma‘u in the 1960s and 1970s. Above the colorful rocks is an 8 m (26 ft) thick section of darker rock layers, which were formed by lava overflowing the vent rim in April and May 2015. The top of the photo shows the flat floor of Halema‘uma‘u, blanketed in a continuous layer of Pele's hair.

Spattering is common in Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake, and consists of many large bursting gas bubbles. The fluid nature of the lake can be seen when lava hits the wall and flows downward like syrup. The thin, flexible nature of the crust is also shown here, as the bursting gas bubbles rip and fold the thin skin on the lake. This video was taken from the rim of Halema‘uma‘u, an area that remains closed to the public due to ongoing volcanic hazards.