This Quicktime movie shows exactly two years of lava lake
activity in Halema‘uma‘u Crater (Feb 11, 2011 to Feb 11, 2013) in one minute of time-lapse video, using images taken from a thermal
camera perched on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u. The lake is contained within a vent
crater informally called the Overlook crater (because it is directly below the former visitor overlook), and the field of view of this camera encompasses most of the Overlook crater.
Soon after the sequence begins, the lava
lake drains abruptly due to the March 5, 2011, Kamoamoa eruptive event on the east rift zone, which depressurized the magmatic system. Over the following six months, the lava lake slowly rises in the Overlook crater to its previous levels, interrupted by another draining event in early August 2011 (due to the August 3 draining of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater that again depressurized the system). As the lava lake rises in the Overlook crater, the fluctuating lava level builds a deep inner ledge. This ledge experiences unsteady growth through sporadic lake overflows, but portions of the ledge also frequently collapse back into the lake. In October 2012 the lake rose over several weeks and achieved the highest level recorded for the current summit eruption around October 26 (about 22 meters, or about 70 feet below the rim of the Overlook crater and floor of Halema‘uma‘u crater). During periods of high lava level, the heating of the Overlook crater walls leads to more frequent crater wall collapses, which sometimes include the rim and enlarge the Overlook crater. This two-year time-lapse sequence shows the highly dynamic nature of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, and helps reveal the processes involved in long-term lava lake activity.