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Halemaumau Summit Lava Lake Level Drops

HVO geologist uses a laser rangefinder to measure the depth of the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea in the Overlook crater. The lake level was about 58 m (190 ft) below the crater rim this afternoon.

Lava Lake Drops

In recent days the lake level has dropped about 35 m (115 ft) as tiltmeters at the summit have recorded a larger than usual deflationary trend. The spattering of the lava lake (middle right of photograph) was triggered by a small rockfall from the north crater wall directly above. Large rockfalls into the lake typically cause small explosions that hurl molten lava onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, one of the hazards of this area. The tripod in lower right supports one of the Web cams used to track activity of the lava lake.

Thermal Image taken this evening at 7:15 Hawaii Standard Time:

This image is from a temporary thermal camera located on the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu and looking steeply toward the north at the active Halemaʻumaʻu vent.  The temperature scale is in degrees Celsius up to a maximum of 500 degrees (932 degrees Fahrenheit) for this camera model, and scales automatically based on the maximum and minimum temperatures within the frame.  Thick fume, image pixel size and other factors often result in image temperatures being lower than actual surface temperatures.

This image is from a temporary thermal camera located on the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu and looking steeply toward the north at the active Halemaʻumaʻu vent. The temperature scale is in degrees Celsius up to a maximum of 500 degrees (932 degrees Fahrenheit) for this camera model, and scales automatically based on the maximum and minimum temperatures within the frame. Thick fume, image pixel size and other factors often result in image temperatures being lower than actual surface temperatures.

Lava Lake in Halemaumau Crater Drops

The summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has dropped significantly over the past two days, as Kīlauea’s summit has deflated.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The dropping lava level has allowed lava veneer on the walls of the Overlook crater to fall away, clearly exposing the contact between the original rim of the Overlook crater (which is the original, pre-overflow floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater) and the stack of recent lava overflows. These overflows are roughly 8 meters (26 feet) thick in total.

Lava Breakouts Continue – Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Reaches New High Level

Breakouts on the June 27th lava flow remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A new, small, breakout appeared recently from the tube adjacent to Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, the small forested cone near the center of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

The new breakout is the light-colored curved flow in the left portion of the photograph.

The farthest active breakout on the June 27th flow reached about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

The tip of this breakout was narrow and burning forest.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

The June 27th flow covers much of the top of the photograph, and recent expansion of the flow margins has sent lava cascading into one of the ponds on the 2007 perched lava channel.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

Over the past week small flows have filled the bottom of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

These flows originated from vents in the south portion of the crater, and one of the flows can be seen near the center of the photograph.

hvo141The Overlook crater lava lake, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit, has been rising over the past few days, and today reached the highest point yet measured for the current summit eruption.

The lava lake this afternoon was 20 meters (66 feet) below the Overlook crater rim.

 Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

The lava level was high enough at the lava lake this evening that bits of spatter were reaching the rim of the Overlook crater.

hvo143

 

Movies Show Explosions at Halemaumau

Movie from a webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, directly above the summit lava lake, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 1 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Rq-4vOSR1AI]

Movie from a webcam positioned in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, next to Jaggar Museum, near the summit of Kīlauea, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 2 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/HJd5A2QryZM]

Rockfall Triggers Explosive Event at Halema’uma’u

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places.

hvo87

The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

hvo88

Volcano Scientist Presents Two Talks About Kilauea’s Ongoing Eruptions

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 1912–2012 Centennial—100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes

Matt Patrick, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will present two talks about Kīlauea Volcano in East Hawai‘i in the coming week.   The presentations are part of a series of HVO talks being held during Hawai`i Island’s 3rd annual Volcano Awareness Month in January 2012, and in celebration of HVO’s 100th anniversary.

An update on the active volcanic vent within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea will be the topic of Patrick’s talk on Tuesday, January 10.  This “After Dark in the Park” presentation will be held in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at 7:00 p.m.  The talk is free, but Park entrance fees apply.

The vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater opened in March 2008.  Since then, the eruption has consisted of constant degassing, occasional explosive events, continuing ash emissions, and fluctuating lava lake activity within an open vent that has now grown to more than 430 feet wide.  Patrick will present an overview of this ongoing summit eruption and its current status.

Tracking Kīlauea’s ongoing eruptions will be the topic of Patrick’s second presentation, which will be at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Thursday, January 12, at 7:00 p.m.  This talk is free and open to the public.  It will be held in the University Classroom Building, Room 100, on the UH–Hilo main campus, 200 W. Kawili Street, in Hilo. A map of the campus is available online.

In addition to the summit eruption that began in March 2008, Kīlauea has been erupting essentially nonstop for the past 29 years at vents along the volcano’s east rift zone.  During those years, the volcanic activity has included erupting fissures, spectacular lava fountains, and numerous flows of ‘a‘ā and pāhoehoe lava.  Patrick will review these significant events and will describe how USGS scientists track Hawai‘i’s volcanic activity.

For more information about Patrick’s presentations, other Volcano Awareness Month programs, and HVO Centennial events, please visit the HVO website or call (808) 967-8844.