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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 20, 2017
Typical lava lake activity at Kīlauea Volcano's summit

Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake activity over the past few days has been typical, with intermittent sites of spattering and migration of the crust from north to south (top to bottom of image). This view of the lava lake was captured on the evening of Saturday, November 18.

Left: Spattering is common in the summit lava lake, normally at one or more sites along the lake margin. A spattering area along the northeast lake margin on Friday, November 17, is shown here. The surface crust tends to flow into the spattering area, where it sinks. This migration can produce rips and tears of the lava lake crust as it approaches the chaotic spattering zone. Right: The surface crust on the summit lava lake has many different textures, and these textures can be used to identify where portions of a crustal plate originated. For instance, in this November 20 photo, the long narrow band of striated crust that cuts across the image diagonally originated from the spreading zone in the upper left area of the photo.

This video shows typical spattering in the summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Spattering is driven by the bursting of large gas bubbles. The surface crust tends to flow into the spattering sites, where the crust is shredded and sinks.
November 17, 2017
Weak flows on Kamokuna delta

Over the past week, the episode 61g Kamokuna lava delta has been partially resurfaced by viscous, spiny pāhoehoe flows (darker in color). Geologists at the ocean entry today (November 17) did not see an active ocean entry, but lava has intermittently entered the ocean over the past few weeks. A few tiny, and very sluggish, breakouts were visible on the delta near the base of the cliff.
November 15, 2017
Views of Kīlauea caldera

A helicopter overflight provided good view of Kīlauea caldera. This video starts from the east, near Kīlauea Iki, and heads west towards Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Spattering in the summit lava lake can be seen by the small orange spot in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The gas plume from the lake is carried southwest by trade winds. HVO and Jaggar Museum can be seen on the crater rim near the end of the video. The video is shown at 2x speed.
November 10, 2017
Ocean entry inactive; breakouts continue on delta and coastal plain

The ocean entry was inactive today, following a trend of diminished activity over the past several days. There were no signs of lava streams entering the water and no indication of a plume rising from the leading edge of the delta. Small surface breakouts were observed on the delta, however, and breakouts were also active upslope on the coastal plain.

Several small breakouts were observed on the delta today. This view is from the sea cliff looking out across the delta. Just below the center of the photograph, a small lobe of spiny pāhoehoe can be seen oozing out of a small tumulus.

Left: Roughly 500 meters (0.3 miles) north or inland of the sea cliff, a new breakout emerged from the lava tube over the past several days. This small breakout was mostly spiny pāhoehoe, and was very sluggish. Right: Scattered breakouts remain active on the coastal plain, roughly 1.6 km (1 mile) north of the emergency access road. Here, an HVO geologist marks the position of these breakouts with a handheld GPS.
November 1, 2017
Activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and on the 61g flow

The lava pond in the west pit of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō remains active. While at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō making observations, HVO geologists witnessed a small rockfall from the western wall (center right of photo where spattering is occurring). The rockfall briefly disturbed the pond surface and produced spattering for several minutes. Rockfalls into the lava pond are fairly common because the unstable west pit rim and walls have many loose altered rocks, overhung ledges, and cracks (example at left center).

The ocean entry at the Kamokuna lava delta was active today, with a small and wispy steam plume. The ocean entry was being fed by a surface flow on the delta, which is clearly seen in the thermal image (right) as a bright yellow color. The thermal image also shows heat signatures from parallel cracks in the delta that were covered by lava flows during the past several months. Based on today's overflight, the delta is roughly 4 ha (10 acres) in size. The nearest surface flows on the coastal plain are about 1.4 km (0.9 miles) from the emergency road.
October 26, 2017
Lava breakouts continue on the coastal plain and on the delta

On Kīlauea Volcano's 61g coastal flow field today (October 26), the closest active surface flows mapped by HVO geologists were approximately 1.4 km (0.9 miles) from the emergency road. Breakouts at the flow front were mostly sluggish and spread out pāhoehoe toes; a few larger breakouts were short-lived. Other areas of surface breakouts were also found farther upslope, produced by the June 26 breakout, visibly degassing to the right of the green kipuka on the pali.

Left: A thin fluid sheet of pāhoehoe flowed from beneath the fractured crust of a tumulus (an inflated flow surface that is pushed upward) and quickly filled in nearby low areas. This surface flow, which is from the June 26 breakout, was close to the base of the pali. The tumulus pictured here is roughly 3 m (10 ft) tall. Right: The episode 61g Kamokuna ocean entry was still active today (October 26), with a breakout on the delta surface feeding multiple lava streams on the delta's seaward edge. Despite the amount of lava entering the water, the ocean entry plume was extremely weak, with little to no sign of it from HVO's Holei Pali webcam (HPcam), which views the lower half of the 61g flow field, from the ocean entry to the pali.
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.