Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – December 22, 2020

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 Scientists continue to monitor the ongoing eruption in Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera, Island of Hawai‘i

Fissures Feed a Lava Lake at Halema'uma'u, at Kīlauea Volcano's Summit. Since fissures opened on December 20, 2020 in Halema'uma'u crater, USGS–Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have maintained a 24-hour watch from the rim, taking measurements and making visual observations. This video captures fountaining activity at the two active vents during the early morning hours of December 22. The second video shows a wind vortex on the lava lake, strong enough to rip up pieces of the lake’s crust. The sounds are of the fountaining activity, with a few faintly audible remarks from scientists.

Brett Carr, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

Two fissure vents feed a growing lava lake at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater. A preliminary calculation of volume suggests that since the start of the eruption on December 20, 2020, approximately 8-10 million cubic meters of lava have been erupted. This is equivalent to over 2 billion gallons, the volume of 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Matt Patrick, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

 

Color thermal images of lava lake

A comparison of two thermal images from the F1cam thermal webcam located on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea volcano. These two images were taken 48 hours apart. The left image from December 20 at 8:22 a.m. HST, shows the water lake that was in the bottom of the crater—approximately 13 hours before the start of the summit eruption at Kīlauea. The image on the right was taken today at 8:22 a.m. HST, December 22. The water lake had been replaced by a lake of lava that was fed by multiple fissure that opened on the Halema‘uma‘u crater wall. Note the difference in temperature scales (degrees Celsius) between the two images.

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of scientists monitoring eruption

As of about 4:45 a.m. HST on Dec. 22, HVO field crews noted that the lava lake rose 3 meters in 3.5 hours. The lake surface is now 487 m (1598 ft) below the crater rim observation site, indicating that the lake has filled 134 m (440 ft) of the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater. This is more than double the depth of the water lake that was in the crater until the evening of Dec. 20 when it was vaporized. Fountaining continues at two locations, more vigorously at eastern vent, and both vents continue to feed the growing lava lake. USGS photo by B. Carr. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of scientists making measurements

On the morning of Dec. 21, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gas scientists use a FTIR spectrometer on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater. The FTIR measures the composition of the gases being emitted during Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing summit eruption by measuring how the plume absorbs infrared energy. The plume being generated by the ongoing eruption is sulfur-dioxide (SO2) rich, but also contains water vapor, carbon dioxide, and halogen gases such as HCl and HF. USGS photo by T. Elias.

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of eruption plume

Aerial imagery collected during a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST. The plume from the ongoing eruption rises above the Kīlauea Volcano's summit, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Ha‘akulamanu (Sulphur Banks) is visible in the foreground. USGS photo. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of eruption

Aerial imagery collected during a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST. USGS photo. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of fissure

Aerial imagery collected during a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST. This photo shows the western, weaker of the two active fissures in Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater. USGS photo. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of eruption

Aerial imagery collected during a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST. This photo shows the two active fissures in Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater. These fissures in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u crater feed a growing lake at its base. In the center of the lake, an island rises approximately 17 m (55 ft) above the surrounding lake surface. The island moves as if floating and is likely material erupted early in this eruption that accumulated at the base of Halema‘uma‘u crater. USGS photo. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of tephra on solar panel

The recent eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea Volcano's summit has deposited tephra downwind of the vent within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Much like the 2008–2018 lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea resulted in tephra deposition locally downwind of the vent, the ongoing eruption is depositing small volcanic glass particles such as Pele's hair downwind of the activity. This photo shows a solar panel for a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Monitoring station, which is located close Halema‘uma‘u crater rim. On December 21, at around 4:00 p.m. HST, the panel was coated in less than half an inch (about 1 cm) of volcanic glass particles which had accumulated since the start of the eruption at 9:30 p.m. the night before. USGS photo by S. Warren.

(Public domain.)

Color thermal images of lava lake

This comparison shows thermal images taken yesterday and today during USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory helicopter overflights. The main difference in this 24 hour period is the significant rise and infilling of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit. This morning, the lake depth was measured at approximately 130 yards. USGS images by M. Patrick. 

(Public domain.)

 Telephoto videos capture fissure activity within Halema‘uma‘u crater on December 22, 2020, at approximately 3:35 PM HST. (1) The first video shows the main northern fissure. The lava fountains have built up a horseshoe-shaped spatter cone (dark in color) around the perimeter of the vent. (2) 2) The second video shows the smaller western fissure. This fissure feeds a small channel of lava that is entering the lava lake (not visible in video). Spatter continues to build up around the perimeter of the vent. When exposed to the air, the spatter quickly cools and turns a dark brown/black color. Molten spatter can be seen landing on the adjacent spatter cone and quickly changing color as it is quenched by the air.

Lil DeSmither, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of eruption

The eruption at Kīlauea Volcano's summit continues within Halema‘uma‘u crater. This photo, taken at approximately 2:43 p.m. HST on December 22, shows the two fissures active on the crater wall that continue to feed a growing lava lake. USGS photo by L. DeSmither.

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of lava lake

An 8 p.m. HST Dec. 22 update from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory crews monitoring the ongoing eruption at Kīlauea Volcano's summit indicated that the lava lake continues to deepen as the two fissures in Halema‘uma‘u crater wall continue to erupt. The lava-lake level is approaching the elevation of the two active fissures. USGS photo by K. Lynn. 

(Public domain.)