How hot is a Hawaiian volcano?
Very hot!! Here are some temperatures recorded at different times and locations:
- The eruption temperature of Kīlauea lava is about 1,170 degrees Celsius (2,140 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The temperature of the lava in the tubes is about 1,250 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The tube system of episode 53 (Pu'u O'o eruption) carried lava for 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the vent to the sea. The tubes contained the heat so efficiently that the lava was still a sizzling 1,140 degrees Celsius (2,085 degrees Fahrenheit) when it reached the ocean.
- The color of incandescent rock gives a crude estimate of temperature. Yellow indicates a temperature of about 1,000–1,200 degrees Celsius (1,832–2,192 degrees Fahrenheit). Orange indicates a slightly cooler temperature of about 800–1,000 degrees Celsius (1,472–1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). Red is even cooler, about 600–800 degrees Celsius (1,112–1,472 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The outer surface of erupting lava cools incredibly quickly when it is first exposed to air—hundreds of degrees per second.
In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u, a crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaiʻi. This new vent is one of two ongoing eruptions on the volcano. The other is on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, where vents have been erupting nearly nonstop since 1983. The duration of these simultaneous summit and...
In this photo, a USGS researcher is taking a temperature measurement on a sluggish channel eddy on Kīlauea Volcano in 1984. The research in Hawaiʻi is just one of many projects overseen by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, which monitors active and potentially active volcanoes, assesses their hazards, responds to volcanic crises, and...
An HVO geologist shields his face from the intense heat as he takes a sample of active lava on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, Kilauea Volcano Hawaii. The chemistry of the lava is analyzed through time and used to study changes in the magmatic system.
by Matthew Patrick, USGS, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
- Spectacular Kilauea eruptions have produced a summit lava lake, roiling for several years, and a flank eruption recently sending lava flows downslope to threaten residential areas
- How do USGS scientists monitor and track
The lava lake deep within the vent cavity at Halema'uma'u crater remains active, with ongoing degassing and circulation of lava. This Quicktime movie shows the view in the vent today with a thermal camera, and the video is set at x4 speed to better show the slowly moving lava surface. Today, the lava surface was moving at a rate of about 18 meters per minute (or about 0.7...
This composite image merges a thermal image and normal photograph, and shows the active flow front in Kalapana. Breakouts (shown by white/yellow areas) were present at the base of the pali (uppermost white/yellow areas), in several spots near the County viewing area, and on the fingers of lava feeding the two ocean entries.
This movie shows the lava surface deep within the Halema'uma'u vent cavity, captured with a thermal camera that can see through the thick fume. The lava surface is about 70 meters (230 ft) wide, and remains about 200 meters (660 ft) below the cavity rim. The surface is mostly crusted, with a slow migration from north to south. Small spattering sources occasionally break...