Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – January 6, 2021

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The eruption in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea's summit on the Island of Hawai‘i continues, with the west vent erupting 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.

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The KW webcam continues to document activity in Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit. The webcam is located on the west rim of the crater, and looks to the east across Halema‘uma‘u (in the images, north is to the left and south is to the right). The first image, taken at just after 6:30 a.m. HST on December 27, 2020, HST shows the largest island in the lava lake oriented in an east-west direction along its long axis. Since then, the island has rotated.  The second image, taken at just after 6:30 a.m. HST on January 6, 2021, HST shows that largest island is now positioned with its long axis in a north-south orientation. You can view live KW webcam images here. USGS webcam images.

Color photograph of volcanic vent

Telephoto view of the lava flow and “dome fountain” activity at the west vent of the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u, Kīlauea Volcano summit, at 5:45 p.m. HST on 5 January, 2021. USGS photo by K. Lynn. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of volcanic vent

View through the laser rangefinder from the south rim of Halema‘uma‘u, Kīlauea Volcano summit, and showing the “dome fountain” and west vent effusive lava flow around 3:30 p.m. HST on January 5, 2021. A glowing vent is also visible at the top of the spatter structure. USGS photo by K. Lynn.

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of lava lake

View looking north across Kīlauea caldera from the south rim of Halema‘uma‘u, showing the ongoing eruption around 5:30 p.m. HST on January 5, 2021. The west vent activity included the “dome fountain,” effusive lava flows from a mid-elevation vent, and weak strombolian spattering activity from the high-elevation vent. USGS photo by K. Lynn. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of lava lake

View to the north-northwest from the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu crater and showing the activity at the western fissure, partly obscured by a rainbow. Today, the western fissure was erupting periodic small spatter bursts from the southwest vent of the fissure that is incandescent in this image and nearly as tall as the previously active cone to the right (northeast). Today, the lava lake is being fed by two sources at the base of the western fissure: the tubed-over lava stream entering the lava lake at the margin (initiated yesterday) and the small dome fountain (maximum height 5 meters or 16 ft). USGS photo by H. Dietterich at 1:15 p.m. HST on 1/6/2021. 

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of rainbow and lava lake

View to the northwest from the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu crater showing the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. The active western fissure is visible above the lake, producing minor spatter and a gas plume from vents at the top. This vent is also sending lava into the lake from a lava tube opening at the lake surface, and producing a small dome fountain. Numerous islands are visible floating in the lake, which itself is perched a couple meters (a couple yards) above its margin. USGS photo by H. Dietterich at 10:11 a.m. HST on 1/6/2021.

(Public domain.)

Color photograph of scientist measuring lava lake

An HVO geologist takes Kīlauea summit eruption lake-level, spatter-cone, and dome-fountain measurements with a laser rangefinder. The top of the dome fountain in Halemaʻumaʻu was up to 5 meters (16 ft) above the lake surface. The lake elevation suggests a maximum lava lake depth of approximately 193 m (211 yd). HVO scientists monitor the ongoing Kīlauea summit eruption from within an area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public for safety reasons. They are equipped with a range of specialized safety gear and personal protective equipment such as gas masks, helmets, gloves, and eye protection. This view is to the northwest from the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu crater.  USGS photo by H. Dietterich at 10:14 a.m. HST on 1/6/2021.

(Public domain.)