Photo and Video Chronology - Kīlauea - October 24, 2003

Release Date:

Birth of twin "carlitos," and views of Pu`u `O`o crater

 

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Sulfur- and sulfate-encrusted hornito in Cookie Monster area along upper Mother's Day lava tube, with south side of Pu`u `O`o in background. Large gap in crater profile is head of broken-down Puka Nui. Later images show birth of two small hornitos just to left of camera.

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Future site of new hornitos. First tiny hornito (informally called "carlito" by us) formed in dully incandescent area just left of end of titanium gas-sampling tube. Second formed in brightly incandescent area into which a mullite gas-sampling tube is inserted. Site is directly above full lava tube, and lava is only 1-2 m below surface. Bits of lava have just started spitting from incandescent holes, and a loud hissing sound issues continuously from site. Sampling tubes are about 2 cm diameter.

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Close view of area in upper right view. Incandescent area in upper left is enlarging, becoming brighter, and acquiring a quivering jello-like texture that you almost want to touch. Mullite tube is inserted in vent in lower right.

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Upper vent in left image is spitting drops and small globs of lava (upper left) in earliest stage of hornito formation. Hissing sounds are very loud now.

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First vent continues to spit lava, and some lava that has welled out from vent is building a black, glassy rim.

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Same vent 53 seconds later. Still more lava has welled out and added to rim.

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Rim has grown larger 35 seconds later, and Pele's Hair is forming from lava spitting from vent.

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Rim of solidified glassy lava is building a hollow cylinder around vent, accompanied by continuous formation of Pele's Hair.

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Baby hornito continues to form on left, and lava is now welling up around mullite gas-sampling tube at second site near right edge of image. It is time to remove the tube or abandon it to posterity.

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Pulling hard, the geochemist manages to extract the mullite tube, carrying with it a large glob of lava.

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Showing off the catch, a red-hot blob of lava on the end of the mullite tube, which is about 2 cm in diameter.

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With the mullite liberated, a new hornito starts to grow at former sampling site. All this time the loud hissing sound continues, broken every minute or two by a second of dead silence, more worrisome than the sound itself.

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View from above the two carlitos, looking in opposite direction from previous shots. First hornito is on right, mullite hornito is on left.

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Back to former viewing site. First tiny hornito has developed a hood like that of a cobra and almost as ominous. Hood (or cap) forms as lava spitting from vent joins that which briefly rises to lip of structure from pulsating tube below.

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View into the hooded first carlito, with plenty of Pele's Hair around.

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Two geochemists view newly birthed carlitos. Nearest person stands where most of preceding images were taken. Camera is on high area from which image at 1101:54 was taken.

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Both new hornitos, the smaller standing over mullite-tube locality. Growth has pretty much ended, with only occasional spit coming from larger hornito.

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Close view into mouth of larger carlito. Coarse spines and fine Pele's Hair are evident.

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Hood on larger carlito has nearly closed.

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Nearly 1 hour later, all activity has ended at the two new hornitos, but the general area itself is clearly still active. This image shows the first new carlito, dark, with its basal surrounding brightly incandescent. Very possibly another carlito formed over this area, perhaps burying the first, but we had to leave. Observing the birth of twin carlitos was enough to satisfy most volcanologists.

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View of eastern part of Pu`u `O`o crater from east rim. East Pond Vent is shown by remnant of large spatter cone and adjacent pit. Incandescence can generally be seen at night in this pit. Dark lava flows erupted in past month from East Pond Vent and adjacent January vent.

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January vent has conelike shape southwest of East Pond Vent.

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View of January vent and East Pond Vent, with south wall of Pu`u `O`o crater dimly shown in upper left. Note billowed appearance of lava flows that spilled from both vents. The lava was gas rich and so left cavernous flows with fragile crusts, called shelly pahoehoe.

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East Pond Vent, which formerly was single large spatter cone before it collapsed several months ago to form a crater, with only remnant of spatter cone remaining.

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Map of flows from Pu`u `O`o: 10 October 2003

Map shows lava flows erupted during 1983-present activity of Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. Red denotes Mother's Day flow, which began erupting on May 12, 2002 and continues to the present.

Through September and into early October,  lava was moving along the east and west sides of the Mother's Day flow. The east-side lava (known as the August 9 breakout) came from the August 9 rootless shield, itself fed by the main Mother's Day tube from Pu`u `O`o. The west side lava, known as the Kohola arm of the Mother's Day flow, branched off the tube system below the rootless shield.

In early October, the August 9 breakout stopped moving, the Kohola died back to a trickle, and the rootless shield gained prominence. By October 16, however, the shield had partly collapsed, leaving several drained perched ponds behind. Upstream from the shield, many hornitos and small flows formed over the Mother's Day tube.

(Public domain.)