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    November 2018
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A 3D Tour of Kīlauea’s Summit Lava Lake

This 3D model of the lava lake at Kīlauea’s summit was constructed from a series of thermal images acquired during an overflight on Thursday, March 16. For scale, the lava lake is about 250 meters (820 ft) across. The lake is within the Overlook crater, which is within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Click to view 3D Model

The model shows that a portion of the Overlook crater wall, along the southern wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, is overhanging. If this portion of the crater wall collapses it could trigger a small explosive event, similar to those which occurred in November and December of 2016.

Lower Level of Kīlauea’s Summit Lava Lake Exposes Vent Wall

The summit lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater on Sunday Jan. 15, 2017 was about 50.5 m (166 ft) below the crater floor (vent rim). One of the most interesting things exposed by the lower lake level was the clear view of the thick, dark veneer of lava on the eastern vent wall (close-up shown below). This veneer formed when the lava lake level was high; lava next to the vent wall cooled and solidified, leaving “bathtub rings” as the lake level rose and fell.

HVO and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera, are visible in the upper left corner of the photo. (Click to Enlarge)

The black rock on the crater floor around the vent was created when the lava lake rose to the point of overflowing in April-May 2015 and October 2016.

Telephoto image of the lava veneer on the 50.5 m (166 ft) tall eastern vent wall; the lava lake surface is visible at lower left. The solidified lava coating the vent wall is quite thick. Parts of it have bathtub rings, but much of it is composed of lumpy protuberances that might have been small ledges at the lake margin or ramparts that formed around spattering sources.

If the lake level remains low, sections of this veneer will likely peel away from the vent wall and collapse into the lava lake.

In places, the dark-colored veneer of lava, or bathtub rings, have already collapsed into the lava lake, exposing older, light- or rusty-colored rocks in the vent wall. The lava lake surface is visible in the foreground.

The distance from the vent rim to the lake surface is 50.5 m (166 ft).

VIDEO: Rockfall Triggers an Explosive Event in Summit Lava Lake

Video clip captured by HVO webcam on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. shows a rockfall from the south wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggering a small explosive event in the summit lava lake.

The explosion threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) onto the rim of the crater, mostly to the west of the former visitor overlook.

hvo-112816

This area has been closed to the public since 2008 due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including explosive events like the one that happened today.

Explosions at Volcano Summit – More Reminders Why Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Area is Closed

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake.

hvo-102116The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, yesterday (Thursday, October 20). The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public.

hvo-102116aYesterday’s explosion, triggered by a rockfall from the south-southeast wall of the summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, blasted spatter (molten lava) and rock fragments on to the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as on to the closed section of Crater Rim Drive, about a quarter-mile from the vent.

hvo-102116bFollowing yesterday’s explosion, spatter (bit of molten lava) and fragments of solid rock littered this closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This section of the road, adjacent to the former Halemaʻumaʻu Crater parking area, has been closed since 2008 due to elevated sulfur dioxide emissions and other ongoing volcanic hazards, such as today’s rockfall-triggered explosion.

hvo-102116cSpatter and “ribbon bombs” (stretched fragments of molten lava) up to 30 cm (about 12 inches) long fell to the ground surface on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the two most recent explosions from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake. The black, glassy lava fragment shown here, about the size of a standard donut, landed amidst smaller, solid pieces of rock blasted from the vent.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A close-up of spatter and rock fragments blasted from the summit vent during the recent explosions.

hvo-102116e

These pieces of rock and lava, now scattered among the Pele’s hair that blankets the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, remind us of the hazards that still exist in this area.

 

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Update – Thermal Image Sequence of Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

This thermal image sequence shows the typical motion of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Thermal image sequence of summit lava lake motion... Click Picture to view the sequence.

Thermal image sequence of summit lava lake motion… Click Picture to view the sequence.

For scale, the lake is about 160 meters (520 feet) wide in this view. The clip spans about 12 minutes, and is shown at 30x speed. The lava upwells along the north margin of the lava lake (in this view, near the top of the image). The crust slowly migrates towards the south, where it sinks back into the magmatic system along the south and southeast margins of the lake (bottom of image). The surface moves at roughly 0.5 meters per second, or about 1 mile per hour. The lake surface consists of numerous thin plates of crust, separated by hot cracks. As the lake surface migrates, these plates split, merge and change shape.