Maui News

Kīlauea Volcano Overflight Conducted, Lava Lake Enlarges to 82 Acres

December 31, 2020, 9:53 AM HST
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Video from a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea summit eruption on Dec. 30, 2020, around 10 a.m., shows the western vents (area of bluish-colored gas emissions on left) erupting through crusted-over channels into a lava lake within Halema’uma’u crater. Video: HVO / M. Patrick

Lava activity at the Kīlauea Volcano on Hawaiʻi Island remains confined to Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with lava erupting from vents on the northwest side.

Over the past 24 hours, the lava lake depth measurements have ranged from 593 to 608 feet deep with a narrow black ledge around it, according to an update provided by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Reduced, but still elevated, SO2 emissions were measured Monday, Dec. 30.

The HVO reports that summit tiltmeters recorded neither inflationary nor deflationary tilt over the past two days; and seismicity remained elevated but stable, with steady elevated tremor and a few minor earthquakes.  

“Geodetic monitors indicate that the upper portion of the East Rift Zone (between the summit and Puʻu ʻŌʻō) contracted while the summit deflated,” however the HVO states that, “There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that magma is moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones.” 

According to the latest HVO update, “The west vents spattered while erupting lava flowed through crusted-over channels into a lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater.”

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The lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater continued to enlarge slowly in the past few days with the most recent thermal map (Dec. 30) placing lake dimensions at 800 by 530 m (875 by 580 yds) for a total area of 82 acres.

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Near-real time webcam views of the lava lake can be found here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

HVO field crews observed activity within Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit, overnight from within a closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The area remains closed to the public for safety reasons and HVO field crews are equipped with a range of specialized safety gear and personal protective equipment. In the early hours of December 30, the western vent in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u continued to erupt primarily effusively (flowing lava), but sporadic strombolian activity (minor explosions ejecting lava into the air) was also observed at the top of the west vent. USGS photo by H. Dietterich. 
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