Maui News

Lava Lake at Kīlauea Volcano Spans 72 Acres and is 558 Feet Deep

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HVO field crews observed the continuing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea’s early this morning. Overnight, the western vent in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u continued to erupt, and the northern/eastern vent remained inactive. At approximately 4:30 a.m. HST today (Dec. 28), HVO field crews measured the lava lake as 170 m (558 ft) deep. USGS photo by D. Downs.

Lava activity at Kīlauea remains confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater with lava erupting from a vent on the northwest side of the crater, according to a new update issued by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The HVO reports that as of 10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27, the lava lake was 581 feet deep with a narrow black ledge around it and reduced sulfur dioxide emissions were measured on Sunday morning. 

Seismicity remained elevated but stable, with steady elevated tremor and a few minor earthquakes, according to the HVO.


“The upper portion of the East Rift Zone contracted while the summit deflated. This was associated with magma withdrawal to feed the summit vents. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that magma is moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones,” according to the HVO daily report.

The lake volume was about 4.9 billion gallons and 72 acres in size.

Webcam views of the lava lake can be found here:

Sunrise at the summit of Kīlauea, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, on the morning of December 28, 2020. Portions of Crater Rim Drive that down-dropped during Kīlauea’s 2018 collapse events, are visible in the lower left. This area remains closed to the public due to hazardous conditions. USGS photo by C. Parcheta.
HVO field crews have been using a laser range finder to measure the vertical distance between points of known elevation and features of the ongoing eruption, such as the lava lake surface level and the erupting vents. This morning, the eruption continues at the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u, and streams of lava about 40 m (131 ft) pour from the vent to the lava lake surface. USGS photo by C. Parcheta.


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