Volcano Hazards Program Office

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December 26, 2020

Overflight of Kīlauea's summit Lava Lake and Fissure

A helicopter overflight on December 26, 2020, provided aerial views of the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u. This video, which is sped up 3 times, shows the lava lake and active west vent that rejuvenated just before 3 a.m. HST today. Visual and thermal imagery collected during the overflight are used to map the ongoing activity.

Color map of lava lake temperature
December 26, 2020

December 26, 2020—Kīlauea summit eruption thermal map

A helicopter overflight yesterday (Dec. 26, 2020) at approximately 9:30 AM HST allowed for aerial visual and thermal imagery to be collected of the new eruption within Halema'uma'u crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. This preliminary thermal map shows that the new lava lake is 790 m (864 yd) E-W axis and 520 m (569 yd) in N-S axis. The most recent estimate of lake

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Color photograph of scientist monitoring lava lake
December 25, 2020

Kīlauea's summit lava lake - Dec. 25, 2020 at 7:30 a.m. HST

HVO field crews measured Kīlauea's summit lava lake this morning (Dec. 25) around 7:30 a.m. HST. The lake surface is now 445 m (1460 ft) below the crater rim observation site, indicating that the lake has filled 176 m (577 ft) of the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater. The lake rose approximately 6 m (20 ft) over the past 24 hours. Fountaining continues at two locations, more

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Color map showing lava lake thickness
December 25, 2020

December 25, 2020, preliminary map of the lava lake depth at 2:15 p.m.

Lava lake level measurements collected during a field visit of Kīlauea Volcano's summit around 2:15 p.m. HST on December 25, 2020, were used to create a preliminary lava lake depth map. When compared to pre-eruption topographic models, it shows that the bottom of Halema'uma'u crater has been filled by almost 176 m (578 ft) of lava. Map by H. Dietterich.

Color photograph of lava lake
December 25, 2020

Kīlauea summit eruption - Dec. 25, 2020 at 6 p.m. HST

On the evening of December 25, 2020, the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit continued. Throughout the day, fountaining at two vents continued to feed the rising lava lake which slowly fills Halema‘uma‘u. This photo, taken at approximately 6 p.m. HST from the south rim of the crater shows the main northern vent that is being drowned by the rising lava lake

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December 25, 2020

Kīlauea — UAS Video of Halema‘uma‘u Crater Eruption (Dec. 25, 2020)

Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) video clips of the eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit. This collection of video clips from December 25, 2020 taken with UAS shows the then-dominant north vent fountain and occasional weak spattering from the west vent. The lava lake during the time of the video was measured at approximately 178 m (584 ft) deep

Color photograph of lava lake at night
December 25, 2020

Kīlauea summit eruption - Dec. 25, 2020 at 2:30 a.m.

An early December 25, 2020, morning view of the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit. Overnight fountaining continued to feed the rising lava lake, which slowly fills Halema‘uma‘u. This photo, taken at approximately 2:30 a.m. from the south rim of the crater, shows the main northern vent that is being drowned by the rising lava lake. Intermittent

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Color photograph of lava lake
December 24, 2020

KW webcam image taken on December 24, 2020, around 6:30 a.m. HST

Kīlauea summit KW webam image taken on December 24, 2020, just after 6:30 a.m. HST. The water lake has been replaced by a lava lake; fissures in the wall of Halemaʻumaʻu feed a lava lake that continues to fill the crater. You can view live KW webcam images here

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Color graphic showing lava lake depth relative to empire state building
December 24, 2020

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

Beginning on December 20, 2020, fissure vents opened in the Halema‘uma‘u crater. The former water lake quickly boiled away and, fed by two active fissures, the new lava lake is rising. How high is the lava in the approximately 54 acre lake? 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

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December 24, 2020

Halema'uma'u — Switch from Water Lake to Lava Lake (Thermal)

This thermal timelapse (from F1cam webcam) shows the switch from water lake to lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, spanning December 20 to December 24. During the initial phase of lava appearing in the crater, a large steam plume is generated as lava interacts with and boils off the water lake. The temperature scale in this initial phase is saturated, but the camera settings were

Color photo of lava lake
December 23, 2020

Kīlauea summit eruption - December 23, 2020

Scientists continue to monitor the ongoing eruption in Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera, Island of Hawai‘i. This photo, from the south rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater and looking north, shows the volcanic gas plume heading west. USGS photo by M. Patrick. 

Color photograph of scientists monitoring lava lake
December 23, 2020

Monitoring Kīlauea's new summit lava lake

A helicopter overflight yesterday (Dec. 22, 2020) at approximately ~11:30 AM HST allowed for aerial visual and thermal imagery to be collected, which was used to map the area of Kīlauea's growing summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater. As of yesterday afternoon, the lake is over 690 m (yd) E-W axis and 410 m (yd) in N-S axis. The lake area is more than 22 

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