Photo and Video Chronology - Kīlauea - May 21, 2018

Release Date:

Fissure complex continues to erupt and lava flows enter the sea

 

Aerial of lava fountain

Aerial view of erupting fissure 22 and lava channels flowing southward from the fissure during an early morning overflight. View is toward the southwest.

(Courtesy of Volcano Helicopters)

Lava fountain at fissure 22, 9:03 a.m. HST, from the north side the...

Lava fountain at fissure 22, 9:03 a.m. HST, from the north side the fissure complex. Geologists report this morning the lava fountain as high as about 50 m (164 ft).

(Public domain.)

Lava continues to enter the sea at two locations this morning. Duri...

Lava continues to enter the sea at two locations this morning. During this morning's overflight, the wind was blowing the "laze" plumes along the shoreline toward the southwest.

(Public domain.)

Aerial of lava fountain

Helicopter overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's Lower East Rift Zone shows fountaining at Fissure 22.

(Public domain.)

Fissure fountains feed lava flows, as shown in this overflight video of the Fissure 20 complex on May 21, 2018, around 7:20 AM, HST. The video concludes with a view of the bifurcating lava channels that merge closer to the coast (and split again before ocean entry). The white laze plume is the site of ocean entry.

(Public domain.)

Lava spatter and splashing build cones at Fissure 22, in Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone. This video from May 21, 2018, ~8:50 AM, HST, shows how splashing and spattering lava builds cones around fissure sites. The height of the cone at the lower fountain (to the left) is about 14 m (~45 ft). The height of the large lava fountain in the middle is about 46 m (~150 ft).

(Public domain.)

By the end of the afternoon, only a single ocean entry was active. ...

By the end of the afternoon, only a single ocean entry was active. The lava channel originates from fissure 22. This photo was taken during a late afternoon overflight of the lower East Rift Zone, Kīlauea Volcano.

(Public domain.)

A helicopter overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone shows the interaction of lava and seawater to produce a laze plume. Laze is formed when lava enters the ocean. The interaction sends hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air. Laze drifts with the wind and can be a health hazard for people in the immediate vicinity of the plume, but it dissipates quickly downwind. Laze is irritating to the lungs, eyes and skin. The video also shows the rapid fragmentation of lava when it enters the ocean.

(Public domain.)

 A small explosion occurred on May 20 at Kīlauea Volcano's summit

A small explosion occurred at 12:55 a.m. HST on May 20 in Halema‘um...

A small explosion occurred at 12:55 a.m. HST on May 20 in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. It produced an ash plume that reached about 7,000 feet above sea level and was carried by the wind to the southwest. Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time.

The photo was taken during a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) survey of Halema‘uma‘u on the morning of Sunday, May 20. The crater wall is just visible through the steam plume, showing scars from rockfalls that have been enlarging the crater over the past few days.

UAV flights into this hazardous area, which is too dangerous for ground observations by geologists at this time, allow USGS scientists to better understand what is happening at the rapidly changing vent. In addition to visual imagery such as this, the UAV team hopes to produce digital elevation models to quantify morphological change, and to utilize UAV-borne gas sensors to measure sulfur dioxide and other gas emission. Such information informs our assessment of the hazards that is shared with the National Park Service and other emergency managers.

(Public domain.)