Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – February 16, 2021

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Kīlauea's summit eruption continues on the Island of Hawai‘i; the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u erupts lava into the lava lake. Gas emissions and seismic activity at the summit remain elevated. HVO field crews—equipped with specialized safety gear and PPE—monitor the current eruption from within the closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with NPS permission.

HVO scientists collect detailed data to assess hazards and understand how the eruption is evolving at Kīlauea's summit, all of which are shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers. Access to this hazardous area is by permission from, and in coordination with, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

 

February 12, 2021 — Kīlauea

 

On Friday, February 12, HVO scientists hiked along the rim of Halema‘uma‘u to capture photos of the lava lake

On Friday, February 12, HVO scientists hiked along the rim of Halema‘uma‘u to capture photos of the lava lake from different vantage points. In this photo from the northwest rim, the active western fissure is tucked into the lower-right corner of the crater. The actively circulating western portion of the lava lake (lower-right) and the stagnant eastern portion (upper-left), are separated by a line of cracks running north-south across the center of the lake. USGS photo taken by M. Zoeller.

(Public domain.)

This photo shows the southwest region of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit.

This photo shows the southwest region of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit. Foundering of the active lava lake surface crust—a common process where liquid lava overrides and submerges crust—was observed by HVO scientists on February 12. Several rockfall deposits from the Halema‘uma‘u crater walls are visible on the stagnant lava lake margin (upper-center and lower-right). The southern end of the main island can be seen in the lower-left. USGS photo taken by L. DeSmither.

(Public domain.)

This close-up view of the active western fissure in Halema‘uma‘u was captured through the lens of a laser rangefinder device

This close-up view of the active western fissure in Halema‘uma‘u was captured through the lens of a laser rangefinder device, used by HVO scientists to measure distances to features within the crater. Lava is flowing into the lake at a bubble-like inlet near the base of the spatter cone that has been formed by the fissure. The cone was measured to be approximately 30 m (98 ft) tall. USGS photo taken by M. Zoeller on February 12, 2021.

(Public domain.)

A telephoto image of the west vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit.

A telephoto image of the west vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit. Lava is being supplied to the active western lava lake through the inlet at the base of the vent (lower-center). This photo was taken from the southern rim of Halema‘uma‘u, within an area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public for safety reasons. USGS photo taken by L. DeSmither on February 12, 2021.

(Public domain.)

This telephoto image of the western vent was taken from the west rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit.

This telephoto image of the western vent was taken from the west rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit. An incandescent opening near the top of the cone (center) was producing rare spatter on February 12. The inlet into the lava lake is visible in the upper-center. SO2 emission rates remain elevated. USGS photo taken by L. DeSmither.

(Public domain.)

Panorama of 2018 Kīlauea collapse features from the southeast, February 12, 2021

While hiking along the rim of the 2018 collapse at the summit of Kīlauea on Friday, February 12, HVO scientists visited a site to the southeast of Halema‘uma‘u known as Akanikōlea—a culturally-significant place that is featured in Hawaiian legends. Though the lava lake from the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u is not visible from here, Akanikōlea afforded an excellent wide-angle view of features from the 2018 caldera collapse. The present lava lake in the deepest part of the crater is below the lower ledges on the left side of this panorama, and the eastern down-dropped block extends to the right of the photo. The great expanse of this block, most of which dropped more than 100 m (330 ft) in 2018, creates an enormous amount of space for lava to fill before spilling onto the older caldera floor. At current eruption rates, it will be years until this occurs. The snow-capped peaks of Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea (center) can be seen in the background. This photo was taken from an area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public for safety reasons. The Keanakāko‘i Overlook, just a few hundred meters (yards) to the east, offers a similar view. USGS photo taken by M. Zoeller.

(Public domain.)

 February 11, 2021 — Kīlauea

On February 11, 2021, no major changes were observed at the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. The inlet site where lava is entering the lake had a small upwelling zone raised slightly above the surrounding lake surface. 

Matt Patrick, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

(Public domain.)