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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.

February 18, 2020
Interferogram shows range change at MAUNA LOA and Kīlauea

Data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B satellites on March 31, 2019, and January 31, 2020, produced this interferogram. Each fringe, or band of colors, represents 2.83 cm (1.1 inches) of range change—the distance between the satellite and the ground. Counting fringes gives the total range change between two satellite passes. At point (A) the ground moved closer to the satellite by 7 cm (2.75 in) between the two passes due to inflation of the shallow magma chamber beneath Mauna Loa's summit. The angle at which the satellites viewed the ground shifted the signal slightly east of the summit. Fringes near point (B) at the summit of Kīlauea reflect inflation of the shallow Halema‘uma‘u magma chamber. This inflation has been observed since mid-March 2019, with a total range change of approximately 40 cm (15.7 in). Point (C) is on the middle East Rift Zone near Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Interferograms and GPS data show that inflation has slowly shifted toward Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō in recent months, during which the range change has been about 17 cm (6.7 in). Speckled areas with no visible fringes are covered by dense vegetation that prevents radar from reaching the ground. Atmospheric water vapor can also affect the radar and is responsible for the circular fringes around Mauna Kea and mottled or linear patterns elsewhere. These signals show that magma is entering the shallow storage system. However these data, together with seismicity and SO2 emission rates do not suggest an imminent eruption. More info on how to read an interferogram is available in a 2019 Volcano Watch article (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1417).
January 31, 2020
Halema‘uma‘u crater lake on January 31

Field observations today show that the diameters of the crater lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea are about 94 m (308 ft) north-south and around 192-195 m (630-640 ft) east-west. Too much steam at the west end interfered with measurements this morning. Two small circles above the northeast edge of the water show how much the lake has grown since January 24. USGS photos by D. Swanson.
Water samples collected from Halema‘uma‘u crater lake on January 17

Left: On January 17, 2020, USGS-HVO scientists and DOI Unoccupied Aerial System (UAS) team members collected three additional samples of water from the Halema‘uma‘u crater lake. Here, the sampling device and temperature logger were readied for takeoff. The plastic sleeve was attached to the UAS (drone) with a cord about 20 feet (6 m) long. Colored flags were attached to the cord at 5-foot (1.5-m) intervals so that the UAS pilot and other team members could visually gauge how deep the sampler was under the water surface. One water sample was collected close to the lake surface. Two others were collected from a depth of 10-15 feet (3-4.5 m)—one in a yellow-orange patch of water and the other in a yellow-green patch of water. USGS photo by S. Warren. Right: The purpose of the UAS flights was to collect water samples and gas data to assess ongoing volcanic hazards. HVO's work in a culturally sensitive area closed to the general public was done with permission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. After a sample was collected, HVO team members transferred water from the sampling device to plastic bottles. The scientists wore protective gear, including hardhats in case of rockfall hazards near the crater rim, as well as aprons, goggles, and gloves to shield them from the hot, acidic water. USGS photo by S. Warren.

Team members took notes, measured water pH, and evaluated water temperature data for each sample collected. Water temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) were recorded but are an underestimate due to equilibration time issues with the temperature sensor. Remote measurements of the water's surface temperature via a thermal camera have consistently indicated temperatures of 70-80 degrees Celsius (roughly 160-175 degrees Fahrenheit). Field measurements of pH indicated values of 4.3 for the surface water, 4.2 for the yellow-orange water, and 3.9 for the yellow-green water (pH of the October 26, 2018, sample was 4.2). Additional laboratory analyses by USGS California Volcano Observatory colleagues revealed that the three January samples, while more dilute (perhaps due to recent heavy rainfall), are chemically similar to the water sampled in October, which indicates ongoing reactions between the lake water, volcanic gases, and the surrounding basaltic rocks. HVO's work in a culturally sensitive area closed to the general public is done with permission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The purpose of the UAS flights was to collect water samples and gas data to assess ongoing volcanic hazards. USGS photo by S. Warren.
January 21, 2020
Routine overflight of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone

HVO geologists conducted a routine helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone, from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō to the lower East Rift Zone flow field, on Tuesday, January 21. This photo looks uprift (west) and shows Fissure 8, the dominant vent for the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. Minor steaming is normally present in and around the cone. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Left: This video clip shows a flyover of fissure 8 on Jan. 21. During the 2018 eruption, lava spilled out from the cone into a channel that extended towards the north. Lava traveled approximately 13 km (8 miles) to reach the ocean at Kapoho Bay. USGS video by M. Patrick. Right: This thermal video of the fissure 8 cone shows that small areas of higher temperatures (greater than 100 degrees Celsius, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit) are present on the cone. Those hotter areas likely represent residual heat in the cone and the underlying fissure. USGS video by M. Patrick.

Left: Looking north along the broad fissure 8 channel. At its widest section, the channel is about 430 meters (1400 feet wide). Highway 132 (upper right) can be seen cutting through the braided section of the channel. USGS photo by M. Zoeller. Right: A closer view of the braided section of the fissure 8 channel, with Highway 132 cutting across both branches. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Looking uprift (to the southwest) at the 2018 lower East Rift Zone fissure system—from fissure 8 (top right) to fissure 22 (bottom left). Fissure 22 stands out from other 2018 vents due to its conical shape, which resulted from small "Strombolian" explosions that built a pile of cinder around it. Those explosions continued into July 2018, making 22 the last known erupting fissure, other than fissure 8, which continued to erupt until September 5, 2018. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

A view up the fissure 8 channel in an area just west of Kapoho Crater, where the flow widened and ponded during the 2018 eruption. The browner lava with ridges is some of the final sluggish lava that covered the channel floor in early August 2018, just prior to fissure 8 waning. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

Left: The black sand beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park on Jan. 21, 2020. Basaltic sand from the 2018 lava delta (far right) continues to accumulate, widening and elongating the beach at Pohoiki Bay. USGS photo by M. Zoeller. Right: This aerial view shows the rugged terrain created by thick "toothpaste" lava flows erupted from fissure 8 during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. This terrain is typical of the shoreline in the Kapoho area. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.

On Kīlauea's middle East Rift Zone, thick clouds and steam prevented clear views into the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater. However, a partial view into Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō showed that a small area on the south crater wall had collapsed over the past week. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.
January 17, 2020
Continued slow rise of water at bottom of Halema‘uma‘u

After days of rain, a window of clear weather allowed HVO geologists to make observations and take measurements of the water pond at Kīlauea's summit. No major changes were observed, and the water level continues to slowly rise. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

A close up view of the pond shows the color variations across the surface, and sharp boundaries between zones of different color. USGS photo by M. Patrick.
January 13, 2020
HVO collaborates in conducting fieldwork on Kīlauea

On January 8, scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, University of Texas at San Antonio, and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa hiked on the lava delta that formed in Kapoho Bay during Kīlauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. The group collected rock samples to characterize the chemistry and density of the emplaced lava, as well as its "rheology" (flow properties of lava in a liquid or near-liquid state). The rubbly lava (similar to ‘a‘ā) in the foreground consists of crustal plates from the fissure 8 lava channel that were loosely stacked as the lava slowed and cooled near the former coastline. The scientists shown here are hiking on denser "toothpaste" lava ooze-outs that were squeezed out from below the rubble, forming a characteristically spiny surface. The unstable rubble and sharp "toothpaste" surface, along with powerful waves along the coast, make for extremely hazardous hiking in this area. The scientists wore gloves and other protective gear and stayed well clear of the coastline to complete their work safely. USGS photo by M. Zoeller.
December 27, 2019
Virtual flyover of Kīlauea summit

An overflight on December 18 provided aerial photographs of Kīlauea caldera, which were used to construct a 3D model. The water pond is visible in the deepest portion of Halema‘uma‘u crater. For scale, the water pond is 189 m (650 ft) long and approximately 600 m (1970 ft) below the western caldera rim.
Timelapse video of the water pond at Kīlauea summit

This timelapse sequence shows two hours of activity at the water pond in Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit. Flow is evident along the sharp orange color boundary in the center of the pond, as well as along portions of the shoreline. The pond is 189 m (650 ft) long. The video was taken on the eastern rim of Halema‘uma‘u. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS video by M. Patrick.
December 18, 2019
Overflight of Kīlauea summit on December 18

On December 18, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists conducted an overflight of Kīlauea’s summit. In this view, looking southwest, large cracks are visible on Kīlauea’s caldera floor above and adjacent to the portion of Kīlauea’s caldera floor that down-dropped during the summit collapse-events of 2018. During the flight, the Kīlauea summit area was filmed with both thermal and visual cameras. When compared to previously collected imagery, the images collected on December 18 will provide information on changes at Kīlauea’s summit. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

During an overflight of Kīlauea’s summit on December 18, HVO geologists captured this image of Kīlauea Iki crater and Pu‘u Pua‘i cone, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The view is looking northwest from above the Byron Ledge area. Prior to the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki, the crater was much deeper. The 1959 eruption filled the crater with more than 120 m (440 ft) of lava. During the eruption, the highest lava fountains ever observed in Hawaii (up to 580 m, or 1900 ft), which created the Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone (in the lower right corner of the image), were measured. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

Puhimau thermal area, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, is marked by dead vegetation in this image captured during an overflight of Kīlauea’s summit on December 18. Elevated soil temperatures within Puhimau thermal area, as well as geophysical studies, indicate that a hot and potentially partially molten magma body may underlie Puhimau thermal area, which is home to the largest naturally occurring population of the endangered plant Portulaca sclerocarpa. USGS scientists are examining the area to determine if there have been significant changes in ground temperature or gas emissions. Read more about the Puhimua thermal area in this “Volcano Watch” article: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=642. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

Left: An HVO geologist uses a high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to collect latitude, longitude, and altitude data on a down-dropped portion of Kīlauea’s caldera. On December 18, this spot was used to better observe Kīlauea’s summit crater lake, which is visible in the background of the image. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken. Right: The yellow circle in the upper left corner marks where HVO scientists normally stand to make measurements of Kīlauea’s summit crater lake. From that vantage point, the far west end of the lake is obscured. On December 18, HVO geologists landed on Kīlauea caldera’s down-dropped block east of the crater lake, where views of the currently tear-drop-shaped lake were unobstructed. Bright yellow sulfur marks areas of ongoing fumarolic emissions through the talus lining the walls of Halema‘uma‘u. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

On December 18, HVO geologists landed on Kīlauea’s down-dropped block, which formed during the collapse-events of 2018. At this location, east of Halema‘uma‘u, there was an unobstructed view of Kīlauea’s growing summit crater lake. The length of the lake was approximately 189 m (650 ft) in the east-west direction, which is about the length of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. The light bluish-yellow colors of the lake are likely areas of groundwater influx. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

An HVO geologist looks through a thermal camera at Kīlauea’s summit crater lake during fieldwork on December 18. HVO has used thermal cameras for many years to better understand volcanic processes, such as emplacement and advancement of pāhoehoe lava flows, and activity at the lava lake that was present at Kīlauea’s summit from 2008-2018. With the appearance of water at Kīlauea’s summit, HVO geologists have an opportunity to study another type of process via thermal imagery, growth of a crater lake. Note the flat areas of lava flow surfaces beyond and above the lake. These are former sections of the floor of Halema‘uma‘u that subsided hundreds of meters (yards) during the 2018 collapse event. Yellow areas are regions of significant sulfur precipitation. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.
December 13, 2019
HVO monitoring equipment on the north rim of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

The communications hub at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is precariously perched on the north rim, which is actively collapsing. This hub, and the web cam (PN cam) behind the hub (to the left of image) will very likely fall into the crater as the north rim continues to collapse. HVO already implemented a alternate communication hub for geophysical data acquisition, so there was no gap when the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō hub started tipping precariously. The hub shown above was only routing images from PN, PO, and PT web cameras which all went offline early Monday morning this week. Today's helicopter flight confirmed the hub has not fallen in yet, which means either the antenna signal is blocked from the hub or that the solar panels are no longer able to recharge the batteries powering the antenna. USGS photo by C. Parcheta.

A time-lapse camera was reinstalled on the south rim of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō to document the continuing collapse of the north rim. Today the crater was too steamy to see the north rim, but the camera will capture the sequence of events when visibility is improved. This camera is not telemetered in real-time. USGS photo by C. Parcheta.
December 12, 2019
Measuring Kīlauea summit lake on December 12

The large rock that was visible at the eastern end of Kīlauea’s summit crater lake on November 28 (marked by a white circle on left photo) is now submerged, and the water level continues to slowly rise. Today (right photo), the distance between the water surface and the tripod on the crater rim was measured at about 601 m (1972 ft). USGS photo by K. Mulliken, 12-12-2019.

HVO scientists continue to monitor Kīlauea's summit lake on near-daily trips. A laser rangefinder is used to measure the distance between the lake surface and the person holding the laser rangefinder on the crater rim, allowing the slow rise of the crater lake to be tracked through time. USGS photo by K. Mulliken, 12-12-2019.
Keller Well measurements and water sampling on December 10

Left: On Tuesday, December 10 HVO staff visited Keller Well, a deep borehole at the summit of Kīlauea, to take quarterly measurements and samples. This photo shows an extra long measuring tape, which has a sensor attached to the end, being lowered into the well to measure the distance to the top of the water table. The depth to the water was measured at approximately 511 m (1677 ft) below the ground surface, which is nearly 20 ft (6 m) deeper than the last measurement taken on September 24. USGS photo by L. DeSmither. Right: After collecting a sample from the well using the narrow sampler shown, HVO staff transfer the water sample into a container. The water is collected periodically for chemical analyses so that changes in the water composition can be tracked. For more information about the Keller Well, please see HVO's Dec. 20, 2018, "Volcano Watch" article: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1396. USGS photo by L. DeSmither.
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.