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Halema'uma'u Gas Vent Huffs and Puffs

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Detailed Description

The ongoing eruption in Halema'uma'u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano has experienced several significant interruptions in activity since it began in March 2008. The latest disruption began on June 30, 2009, when a large collapse of the vent rim dumped rubble onto the lava surface and dramatically reduced gas emissions. This period of reduced activity persisted for over a month, until August 9, when a new hot gas vent poked through the rubble on the floor of the eruptive cavity in Halema'uma'u. Following this reawakening, the Halema'uma'u vent began emitting a faint nighttime glow for the first time since July 4, 2009.

This thermal video clip, taken from the rim of Halema'uma'u Crater, shows vigorous puffing from the new gas vent, which also produces audible gas-rushing sounds. A thermal camera is used because it can 'see' through the thick fume that typically obscures the eruptive cavity.

For safety reasons, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park has closed access to the summit vent, which has erupted explosively numerous times since it opened in March 2008. However, the public can see spectacular views the vent—especially the faint orange glow it emits after dark—from an overlook at Jaggar Museum or via HVO Webcams (

Video was taken by Matt Patrick, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist, on August 10, 2009, around 4:30 p.m.




Public Domain.