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Summit lava lake level drops

Detailed Description

HVO geologist uses a laser rangefinder to measure the depth of the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea in the Overlook crater. The lake level was about 58 m (190 ft) below the crater rim this afternoon. In recent days the lake level has dropped about 35 m (115 ft) as tiltmeters at the summit have recorded a larger than usual deflationary trend. The spattering of the lava lake (middle right of photograph) was triggered by a small rockfall from the north crater wall directly above. Large rockfalls into the lake typically cause small explosions that hurl molten lava onto the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater, one of the hazards of this area (for example, see January 8, 2016, entry below). The tripod in lower right supports one of the Web cams used to track activity of the lava lake.