Halema‘uma‘u lava lake depth compared to Empire State Building

Color graphic showing lava lake depth in crater relative to Empire State Building

Detailed Description

On September 29, 2021, fissure vents opened in Halema‘uma‘u crater. A new lava lake began to form on the one previously active from December 2020–May 2021. How much lava has filled Halema‘uma‘u crater?  If the Empire State Building, in New York City, was placed at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater, we estimate the lava lake level could already be as high as the 70th floor!

For reference, the base of Halema‘uma‘u crater after the 2018 collapse was 517.4 m/1698 ft above sea level (asl). A water lake occupied the base of the crater from July 2019–December 2020, to a depth of 50.9 m/167 ft (equal to an elevation of 568.3 m/1865 ft asl). The water lake was evaporated when an eruption began in Halema‘uma‘u crater in December 2020. That eruption created a lava lake that reached a depth of 158 m/518 ft (equal to an elevation of 675.4 m/2216 ft asl) by December 23, 2020. By the end of that eruption in May 2021, the lava lake had reached a depth of 223 meters/732 ft (equal to an elevation of approximately 741 meters/2431 ft above sea level). The eruption that began on September 29, 2021, continues to fill the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater and by October 6, had reached a depth of 256.6 m/842 ft (equal to an elevation of 774 m/2539 ft asl) above the former base of the crater after it collapsed in 2018. For comparison, the height of the Empire State Building is 443.2 m (1454 ft).

USGS graphic by J. Bard. 


Image Dimensions: 2550 x 3347

Date Taken:

Location Taken: US