Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – May 17, 2021

Release Date:

Kīlauea's summit eruption continues on the Island of Hawai‘i; Halema‘uma‘u west vent erupts lava into the lava lake, which was 229 m (751 ft) deep this morning, May 17. Gas emissions and seismic activity at the summit remain elevated. HVO field crews—equipped with specialized safety gear—monitor the 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.


May 17, 2021 — Kīlauea

Halema‘uma‘u eruptive activity on May 17, 2021

Color photograph of lava lake

A small area of molten lava (orange) was observed within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, Island of Hawai‘i, on May 17, 2021, at 8:55 a.m. HST. Surficial activity was observed in both the northern and southern elongated lobes that were active last week, albeit in smaller areas of the lobes. This photo shows surficial activity in the southern part of the southern lobe. USGS photo by J.M. Chang, taken from the west rim of Halema‘uma‘u, an area within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public due to safety reasons. 

(Credit: Julie Chang. Public domain.)

May 14, 2021 — Kīlauea

Halema‘uma‘u lava lake


The lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active

The lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active, although surface incandescence (glowing red lava) has become less frequent over the last few days. In this view looking northwest, two elongated lobes oriented west (left) to east (right) with a relatively smooth shiny grey surface are visible in the center of the photo. These two lobes comprise the active area of the current lava lake. A tiny red glow is visible along the southern (bottom) margin of the northern (top) elongated lobe, toward the middle. The western fissure complex (top left) continues to emit volcanic gases, visible here as a white and slightly blue plume. USGS photo taken by N. Deligne on May 14, 2021.

(Public domain.)