Maui News

Kīlauea overflight video shows lava fountaining within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater

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An early morning overflight video from Jan. 6, 2023, shows several areas of low lava fountaining in Kīlauea’s Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The island that formed during the opening phase of the 2020 eruption still exists and has not yet been overtopped by lava from the reawakened activity. The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. USGS video by M. Patrick.
Kīlauea summit morning monitoring overflight on Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:45 a.m. HST captures this aerial view of the new eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater. The eruption is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater in the summit caldera. Lava flows have inundated much of the crater floor (which is nearly 300 acres or 120 hectares). The higher-elevation island that formed during the initial phase of the December 2020 eruption remains exposed, as well as a ring of older lava around the lava lake that was active prior to December 2022. This older lake has refilled from below with new lava. Mauna Loa is illuminated in the morning light in the background. USGS image by K. Lynn.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, continues with all recent eruptive activity confined to the crater, according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The HVO reports that eruptive activity in the eastern half of the crater now has one dominant fountain, and the active area has shrunk slightly over the past 24 hours. A live-stream video of the lava lake is available at:

HVO scientists say summit tiltmeters recorded inflation over the past 24 hours and volcanic tremor remains above background levels.


The HVO reports that significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera  ”from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of the rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008. ”

Kīlauea volcano began erupting on Jan. 5, 2023 following a brief period of increased seismic activity. The new activity comes following an eruption pause in early December.

This image, taken early on Jan. 6, shows a lava fountain on the eastern portion of Halema‘uma‘u. Numerous areas of upwelling, like the one pictured here, are actively feeding the lava lake and re-surfacing material that was emplaced from activity in 2022. This fountain measured 16-33 feet in height (5-10 meters). PC: USGS/HVO.
Several areas of active upwelling on the surface of Halema‘uma‘u, as seen from the south rim during an early morning observational shift on Jan. 6, 2023. As the lava reaches the lake’s surface, it immediately begins to cool and radiates away from the source. This cooled lava forms thin plates made of lava crust, which grows and extends as it continues to be pushed away. When the thin plates radiating away from two sources meet, a line or ring of spattering will occur as they interact. This process is similar to what happens when two tectonic plates converge. PC: USGS/HVO.


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