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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.

November 29, 2019
Halema‘uma‘u water pond on November 28

Measured from a vertical distance of about 603 m (1978 ft)—from water surface to the top of the tripod on the crater rim—the dimensions of the crater lake in Halema‘uma‘u were around 71-72 m (233-236 ft) north-south and 157-158 m (515-518 ft) east-west on November 28. The ongoing rise in water level is noticeable when the two photos, taken three days apart, are compared. USGS photos by D. Swanson.
November 27, 2019
Reconnaissance videos taken prior to the October 26 water sampling mission

Prior to the Unoccupied Aircraft System (UAS) mission that collected a water sample from Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea's summit on October 26, reconnaissance UAS missions were flown. This video, taken over a period of 15 minutes, has been sped up 7 times to show the UAS as it approaches Halema‘uma‘u from the southwest. The UAS reaches the northeast portion of the lake, surveys the area where the water sample was later collected, and then returns to the launch area. Limited UAS flights in this area are conducted with permission from and in coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit, and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

The Unoccupied Aircraft System (UAS) that collected water from the crater lake in Halema‘uma‘u on October 26 was outfitted with both visual and infrared (thermal) cameras. This reconnaissance video shows fumarolic activity on the walls of the crater. Fumaroles appear light in color (yellow and white) in the visual imagery due to alteration of the crater wall rock. In the thermal image (upper left inset), lighter colors indicate warmer temperatures associated with the fumaroles. Limited UAS flights in this area are conducted with permission from and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

In this October 26 reconnaissance survey, the Unoccupied Aircraft System (UAS) reaches the northeast part of the Halema‘uma‘u crater lake, where large rocks at the lake margin are often used to visually track the rising water level. Taken over a period of about 5.5 minutes, the survey is shown at 3 times the speed it was filmed. Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission from and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea’s summit and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers. Footage is courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Aviation Services.
November 22, 2019
HVO field engineers install new telemetry hub

Left: When a crack near an existing data-telemetry hub on Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō was observed to be growing over several weeks, HVO prepared a contingency hub that could be rapidly installed if/when necessary. On November 15, 2019, after a portion of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater rim collapsed, further threatening the existing telemetry hub, HVO field engineers deployed the contingency hub nearby. USGS photo by C. Moniz. Right: In response to a collapse on the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater rim, which threatened the existing data-telemetry hub, HVO field engineers rapidly deployed and installed a new hub nearby. Telemetry hubs transmit important data from monitoring instruments on the volcano to HVO scientists, providing them information they need to track changes on Kīlauea. USGS photo by K. Calles.
November 21, 2019
Continued slow rise of water level at bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

The water at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u, a crater at Kīlauea's summit, continues to slowly rise. During HVO's early morning observations today, the southern portion of the crater was in shadow, but the water lake looked similar to previous days, with the water surface yellow-green in color and steaming distributed across the lake surface. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

Photos taken two weeks apart show the rise of water in Halema‘uma‘u. A white arrow denotes a large rock along the edge of the lake for comparing water levels in the two images. The water continues to rise at a rate of approximately 15 cm (6 in) per day. USGS photos by M. Patrick.
November 20, 2019
USGS scientists monitor gases on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone

On November 8, 2019, USGS volcano scientists visited Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone to measure ambient gases, as well as the soil carbon dioxide (CO2) flux and temperature. This photo, looking in a southeast direction, shows some steaming uprift of the 2018 fissure system. Steaming in this area is the result of continued migration of heat due to movement of subsurface ground water as the area recovers from the 2018 eruption. USGS image by P. Nadeau.

Left: USGS scientists measured gases in an area uprift of the 2018 fissure system on November 8. In this area, vegetation has died because of lingering heat and steam. In some areas of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone, residents report smelling gases that are likely generated by decaying organic matter rather than magma degassing. USGS image by P. Nadeau. Right: During their work on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone, USGS scientists used a closed chamber to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted directly from the ground near a steaming crack. HVO continues to track changes along Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone since the 2018 eruption ended. You can read more about lingering heat and gases on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone in a recent "Volcano Watch" article: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1421. USGS image by P. Nadeau.
USGS scientists investigate Puhimau thermal area on Kīlauea

During November 4-6, an interdisciplinary group of USGS scientists, including an ecologist, a botanist, and volcano scientists, collected gas samples for chemical and isotopic analyses and measured soil carbon dioxide (CO2) flux and temperature. The data will be used to create CO2 flux and temperature maps, which will be compared to earlier studies to assess changes in the Puhimau thermal area in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last several decades. USGS image by P. Nadeau.

Left: During their Nov. 4-6 study, USGS scientists collected gas from the Puhimau thermal area in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Samples will be analyzed for bulk chemistry and helium isotopes, which can help identify the extent of deep magmatic degassing. USGS image by P. Nadeau. Right: The gas is collected in evacuated glass bottles (vacuum-pumped, so that there is no other gas inside the bottle), using a syringe and tubing to help ensure minimal contamination by ambient atmospheric gases. USGS image by P. Nadeau.

Puhimau thermal area has the largest naturally occurring population of the endangered plant, Portulaca sclerocarpa (marked by the blue flag in the photo), and is the site of National Park Service restoration efforts for this species. Plant size and vigor were recorded for plants in the proximity of the CO2 and temperature measurements to determine how these abiotic parameters may be influencing plant survivorship and growth. The data collected in this study will be used to inform volcano monitoring, hazards mitigation, and vegetation and area management efforts. USGS image by P. Nadeau.
November 5, 2019
More videos of the October 26 water sampling mission

This video was captured by the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as it collected a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit. Limited UAS flights in this area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit, and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

This thermal video was captured by the UAS as it collected a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit.
October 29, 2019
Video of the water sampling at Kīlauea summit with an unmanned aircraft system

This video shows the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) collecting a water sample from Halema‘uma‘u. This wider view shows the scale of the UAS relative to the water pond. USGS video by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019. Limited UAS flights into this area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The information is used to assess hazards at Kīlauea's summit, and is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.

This video shows another view of the unmanned aircraft system sampling water from Halema‘uma‘u. USGS video by C. Parcheta, 26 Oct 2019.

This video shows a close-up of the unmanned aircraft system collecting a water sample in Halema‘uma‘u. USGS video by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019.

HVO scientists performed some preliminary tests of the water at the caldera rim minutes after it was collected. The thermal image shows that the water sample, in the plastic bottles, remained hot. Initial testing of the Kīlauea summit crater lake water sample revealed a pH of 4.2. This value is acidic, though not as low as at some other volcanic lakes around the world, which can have pH values near or lower than zero. The conductivity of the water, related to the amount of dissolved solids, was above the upper limit of our current sensor. We were unsuccessful in obtaining a direct measurement of the lake’s temperature, but recent measurements by a thermal camera on the rim of the crater indicate a maximum water temperature of 65-75 ° C. More in-depth analyses of the water will be conducted by USGS colleagues at the California Volcano Observatory. USGS images by M. Patrick, 26 Oct 2019.
October 28, 2019
Water sampling at Kīlauea summit with an unmanned aerial system

Telephoto zoom of a hexacopter unmanned aerial system (UAS) hovering steadily above the water in Halema‘uma‘u crater. The water was collected in a sterilized plastic sleeve.
Pre-flight inspection

The USGS and OAS team prepares the sampling mechanism and inspects the unmanned aerial system a few minutes before mission start and takeoff. Precautions were taken to ensure the aircraft and sampling mechanism were sterile, and would return safely from the pond.
October 25, 2019
Continued slow rise of water level at bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

The water level at Kīlauea summit continues to slowly rise, with the size of the pond gradually enlarging. The pond today was at least 140 m (460 ft) in the east-west direction (from bottom to top of image). This length is a minimum estimate as the west end of the pond is now partially blocked from view by the crater walls. USGS photo by D. Swanson.

This comparison shows the change in the water level over the past week. Note the water level relative to the large rock near the top of the image. USGS photos by D. Swanson and M. Patrick.
October 20, 2019
Timelapse video of the water pond at Kīlauea summit

This timelapse video covers 1.5 hours and shows the motion of the water surface at the summit of Kīlauea. Along the shoreline, areas of apparent water influx are visible, often with a slightly greener color. Shifting steam on the surface attests to the high temperature of the water and the winds at the bottom of the crater. The contrast has been enhanced to highlight the surface motion. USGS video by M. Patrick.