Volcano Hazards Program Office


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Color photograph of volcanic vent
December 31, 2020

Kīlauea west vent on December 31, 2020, morning

The western fissure in Halemaʻumaʻu wall remains active. Glowing vents and a prominent spatter cone are visible in this photo, which shows some spattering at the vent. This view looks steeply down from Kīlauea's west caldera rim, and the lava lake surface is visible in the background. USGS photo by B. Carr on 12/31/2020. 

December 30, 2020

Crustal foundering on surface Halema'uma'u crater lava lake

This video, taken with a telephoto lens from an observation location on the rim, shows a process called “foundering”, in which a segment of cool lava crust on the surface of the lava lake is overridden by less-dense liquid from below causing the crust to sink into the underlying lake lava. Density-driven crustal foundering leading to surface renewal occurs repeatedly

Color photograph of volcanic vent and lava lake
December 30, 2020

Kīlauea summit eruption - Dec. 30, 2020, at 5 a.m. HST

HVO field crews observed activity within Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea Volcano's summit, overnight from within a closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The area remains closed to the public for safety reasons and HVO field crews are equipped with a range of specialized safety gear and personal protective equipment. In the early hours of December 30, the western vent in

December 30, 2020

Helicopter overflight of Kīlauea summit eruption, 12/30/2020

Video from a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea summit eruption on December 30, 2020, around 10:00 a.m., shows the western vents (area of bluish-colored gas emissions on left) erupting through crusted-over channels into a lava lake within Halema'uma'u crater.

As of December 30, at 3:45 a.m., the lava lake was 181 m (593 ft) deep. The lake volume was about 23 million

Color photograph of lava lake
December 30, 2020

Annotated photograph of the Halemaʻumaʻu eruption

Annotated eruption photograph taken at 5 p.m. HST on December 30, 2020, from the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, Kīlauea Volcano summit. USGS photo by K. Lynn. 

December 30, 2020

Kīlauea - Halema'uma'u thermal map compilation December 21-30, 2020

Watch the changes in the growing lava lake within Halema'uma'u crater in these thermal maps from December 21-30, 2020.

In the first thermal map (December 21, 2020), the lake area is about 33 acres. In the last thermal map (December 30, 2020), the lake is about 82 acres. The dimensions of the lava lake are now 875 yd on the E-W axis (7+ football fields) and 580 yd on

December 29, 2020

Kīlauea — Thermal Imagery Timelapse (Dec 29, 2020)

Kīlauea Volcano, U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory timelapse of thermal imagery showing Halema‘uma‘u west vents and lava entering the lava lake. This timelapse was taken over one hour, between approximately 10 and 11 p.m on December 29, 2020.

Color photograph of lava lake and moon
December 29, 2020

Kīlauea summit eruption - Dec. 29, 2020 at 5:30 a.m. HST

This photo, taken at approximately 5:30 a.m. December 29, 2020, shows Kīlauea's ongoing summit eruption. The western vent in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u continued to erupt overnight, and the northern/eastern vent remained inactive. At approximately 3:45 a.m. HST today (Dec. 29), HVO field crews measured the lava lake as 179 m (587 ft) deep. USGS photo by H. Dietterich. 

Color photograph of scientist monitoring lava lake
December 29, 2020

Scientist monitoring Kīlauea summit eruption on 12/29/2020

HVO scientists monitor the ongoing Kīlauea summit eruption from within an area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that remains closed to the public for safety reasons. They are equipped with a range of specialized safety gear and personal protective equipment such as gas masks, helmets, gloves, and eye protection. No major changes were observed at the eruption site

December 29, 2020

Halema‘uma‘u west vent flowing into lava lake 12/29/2020

29 December 2020 - Kīlauea Volcano - US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. This video, taken early morning on December 29, 2020, shows lava erupting from the west fissure in Halema‘uma‘u and pouring into the lava lake. Laser rangefinder measurements indicate that the opening lava pours from is 4-6 m (13-20 ft) wide. USGS video by H. Dietterich.

Color photograph of sunrise
December 28, 2020

December 28, 2020, sunrise at Kīlauea's summit

Sunrise at the summit of Kīlauea, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, on the morning of December 28, 2020. Portions of Crater Rim Drive that down-dropped during Kīlauea's 2018 collapse events, are visible in the lower left. This area remains closed to the public due to hazardous conditions. USGS photo by C. Parcheta. 

December 28, 2020

Overflight of Halema‘uma‘u lava lake and active west vent, 12/28/20

28 December 2020 - Kīlauea Volcano, US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - A helicopter overflight this morning (9:30 a.m. HST) provided aerial views of the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u. This video shows the lava lake and active west vent. The spatter rampart built by the northern/eastern vent that is no longer erupting is visible on the crater wall. Visual and