Photo and Video Chronology - Kīlauea - January 8, 2016

Release Date:

Early morning explosive event at Kīlauea summit lava lake

Preview image for video: Early morning explosive event at Kīlauea s...

Preview image for video: A rockfall on the east rim of the summit vent within Kīlauea Volcano's Halema‘uma‘u Crater triggered a small explosive event at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. Explosive events like this occur more frequently when the lava lake level is relatively high, as it has been this past week—around 30-35 m (100-115 ft) below the vent rim. Rocks in the vent wall expand as they are heated by the high temperature of the lava lake and become unstable. Sections of these unstable rocks can then collapse into the lava lake. shows today's rockfall as seen from HVO and Jaggar Museum.

(Public domain.)

 

Preview image for video: When large rockfalls impact the lava lake,...

Preview image for video: When large rockfalls impact the lava lake, they trigger explosive events that propel volcanic rock fragments (tephra) upward. This morning's event was vigorous enough to hurl incandescent fragments onto the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater, about 110 m (360 ft) above the lava lake surface. shows some of these fragments flying toward the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam that is perched on the rim of the crater. Rockfalls and subsequent explosive events occur with no warning, and the resulting fragments of hot lava and rocky debris thrown onto the crater rim pose a significant hazard in this area.

(Public domain.)

The January 8, 2016, rockfall and subsequent explosive event litter...

The January 8, 2016, rockfall and subsequent explosive event littered the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater with fragments of molten lava. In this image, you can see what remains of the Halema‘uma‘u Overlook wooden fence, which has been repeatedly been bombarded by spatter and rock fragments since 2008. The blue bucket attached to the fence is one of HVO's tephra collectors so that lava fragments and rocky debris ejected from the summit vent can be quantified and analyzed.

(Public domain.)

The rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater was covered in a nearly continuous b...

The rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater was covered in a nearly continuous blanket of tephra following today's early morning rockfall and subsequent explosive event. Tephra is the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, and can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter. Two backpacks (in background), which belong to HVO scientists who briefly entered the area to collect tephra samples for laboratory analyses, provide scale for the fragments hurled onto the crater rim this morning.

(Public domain.)

The 10 cm (4-inch) pocket knife in this image provides scale for on...

The 10 cm (4-inch) pocket knife in this image provides scale for one of the larger fragments of molten lava that was thrown onto the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. So much spatter was ejected to the crater rim this morning that it is hard to discern one lava fragment from another.

(Public domain.)

Coolest Pele's Tear ever!...

This photo shows a one-of-a-kind, completely hollow Pele's tear about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) long. It was found on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u and was ejected in association with this morning's explosive event, probably during the aftermath when the lake surface was spattering vigorously.

(Public domain.)