Photo and Video Chronology - Kīlauea - December 18, 2019

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Overflight of Kīlauea summit on December 18

 

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No significant changes were observed at Kīlauea's summit today, during a routine overflight by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists. Nice weather allowed for clear views of Kīlauea Caldera and this photo, looking west, shows the collapse area that formed during 2018, as well as the summit of Mauna Loa in the background. Lava flows that erupted in 1971 and 1974 (darker colored relative to other lava flows on Kīlauea Caldera floor) border the foreground in this image.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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During an overflight of Kīlauea's summit on December 18, HVO geologists captured this image of Kīlauea Iki crater and Pu‘u Pua‘i cone, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The view is looking northwest from above the Byron Ledge area. Prior to the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki, the crater was much deeper. The 1959 eruption filled the crater with more than 120 m (440 ft). During the eruption, the highest lava fountains ever observed in Hawaii (up to 580 m, or 1900 ft), which created the Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone (in the lower right corner of the image), were measured. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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Puhimau thermal area, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, is marked by dead vegetation in this image captured during an overflight of Kīlauea's summit on December 18. Elevated soil temperatures within Puhimau thermal area, as well as geophysical studies, indicate that a hot and potentially partially molten magma body may underlie Puhimau thermal area, which is home to the largest naturally occurring population of the endangered plant Portulaca sclerocarpa. USGS scientists are examining the area to determine if there have been significant changes in ground temperature or gas emissions. Read more about the Puhimua thermal area in this "Volcano Watch" article: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid.... USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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An HVO geologist uses a high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to collect latitude, longitude, and altitude data on a down-dropped portion of Kīlauea's caldera. On December 18, the area was evaluated for potential monitoring camera locations to better document changes in the surface level of Kīlauea's summit crater lake, which is visible in the background of the image. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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The yellow circle in the upper left corner marks where HVO scientists normally stand to make measurements of Kīlauea's summit crater lake. From that vantage point, the far west end of the lake is obscured. On December 18, HVO geologists landed on Kīlauea caldera's down-dropped block east of the crater lake, where views of the currently tear-drop-shaped lake were unobstructed. Bright yellow sulfur marks areas of ongoing fumarolic emissions through the talus lining the walls of Halema‘uma‘u. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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On December 18, HVO geologists landed on Kīlauea's down-dropped block, which formed during the collapse-events of 2018. At this location, east of Halema‘uma‘u, there was an unobstructed view of Kīlauea's growing summit crater lake. The length of the lake was approximately 189 m (650 ft) in the east-west direction, which is about the length of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. The light bluish-yellow colors of the lake are likely areas of groundwater influx. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)

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An HVO geologist looks through a thermal camera at Kīlauea's summit crater lake during fieldwork on December 18. HVO has used thermal cameras for many years to better understand volcanic processes, such as emplacement and advancement of pāhoehoe lava flows, and activity at the lava lake that was present at Kīlauea's summit from 2008-2018. With the appearance of water at Kīlauea's summit, HVO geologists have an opportunity to study another type of process via thermal imagery, growth of a crater lake. Note the flat areas of lava flow surfaces beyond and above the lake. These are former sections of the floor of Halema‘uma‘u that subsided hundreds of meters (yards) during the 2018 collapse event. Yellow areas are regions of significant sulfur precipitation. HVO fieldwork in this closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is done with permission of the National Park Service to support public safety and further scientific understanding of Kīlauea Volcano. USGS photo by K. Mulliken.

(Credit: Public domain.)