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January 7, 2023

HVO scientists collect detailed data to assess hazards and understand how the eruption is evolving at Kīlauea's summit, all of which are shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers. Access to this hazardous area is by permission from, and in coordination with, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 

January 6, 2023 — Kīlauea Summit Eruption

An eruption within Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit, began at approximately 4:30 p.m. on January 5, 2023. Scientists observed it overnight and in the morning of January 6.

sunrise image of Kilauea caldera with lava
Kīlauea summit morning monitoring overflight on January 6, 2023 at 6:45 a.m. HST captures this aerial view of the new eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater. The eruption is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater in the summit caldera. Lava flows have inundated much of the crater floor (which is nearly 300 acres or 120 hectares). The higher-elevation island that formed during the initial phase of the December 2020 eruption remains exposed, as well as a ring of older lava around the lava lake that was active prior to December 2022. This older lake has refilled from below with new lava. Mauna Loa is illuminated in the morning light in the background. USGS image by K. Lynn.
An early morning overflight video from January 6, 2023, shows several areas of low lava fountaining in Kīlauea's Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The island that formed during the opening phase of the 2020 eruption still exists and has not yet been overtopped by lava from the reawakened activity. The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. USGS video by M. Patrick.
person looking through scope toward orange glow of lava lake with a black background
During an overnight field shift on January 6, 2023, a USGS geologist takes rangefinder measurements to gather information about lava lake levels and fountain dimensions within the newly erupting Halema‘uma‘u Crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. USGS photo by J.M. Chang.
orange glow from lava lake against black background with cameras on tripod in foreground
Webcam sentinels stand watch over the new eruption within Halema‘uma‘u Crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, in the early morning hours of January 6, 2023. USGS photo taken from the south rim by J.M. Chang.
a lava lake showing bright orange spots surrounded by black punctuated by orange glowing cracks
View of eastern half of lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u, Kīlauea summit, in the early morning of January 6, 2023. In this view looking north, four active lava fountains are visible, three in the center of the photo and one in the middle right (smaller). The dark area in the left center of the photo is the main island, formed during the December 2020 eruption; lava did not cover the northern (top) part of the island and so it appears dark. USGS photo by N. Deligne.
red orange colored fountain of lava against black background
This image, taken early on January 6th, shows a lava fountain on the eastern portion of Halema‘uma‘u. Numerous areas of upwelling, like the one pictured here, are actively feeding the lava lake and re-surfacing material that was emplaced from activity in 2022. This fountain measured 16-33 feet in height (5-10 meters). 
glowng red orange lava showing through zig-zag shaped cracks on black lava lake surface crust.
Several areas of active upwelling on the surface of Halema‘uma‘u, as seen from the south rim during an early morning observational shift on January 6, 2023. As the lava reaches the lake's surface, it immediately begins to cool and radiates away from the source. This cooled lava forms thin plates made of lava crust, which grows and extends as it continues to be pushed away. When the thin plates radiating away from two sources meet, a line or ring of spattering will occur as they interact. This process is similar to what happens when two tectonic plates converge.
Color map of eruption at summit of volcano
A new eruption at the summit of Kīlauea volcano began at approximately 4:34 p.m. on Thursday, January 5, 2023. This reference map depicts activity on the second day of the eruption, based on measurements taken from the crater rim at approximately 9:00 a.m. this morning. Multiple eruptive vents on the eastern floor of Halema‘uma‘u crater are effusing directly into a lava lake that sits atop them, with the vents taking the form of dome fountains. Lava from these dome fountains is flowing laterally across the rest of the crater floor. The extent of the active lava lake—the area in red—is 218 acres (88 hectares); part of this area is comprised of the active lava lake footprint from the end of the 2021–22 eruption, which has filled with new lava that upwelled from below. The full extent of new lava from this eruption, totaling both the active lava lake (red) and flows that have crusted over (pink) is 277 acres (112 hectares). Although this eruption has expanded the footprint of post-2018 lava within Halema‘uma‘u crater, citizen scientists may note that this full extent value is smaller than that at the end of the 2021–22 eruption: 295 acres (119 hectares). This discrepancy exists because a higher-standing section of crater floor (yellow) around the former active lava lake has not yet been overflowed with new lava. The current laser rangefinder measurement (available at https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/past-week-monitoring-data-kilauea) places the new lava lake depth at 274 meters (899 feet), about 8 meters (26 feet) above the level of the cooled lava from the 2020-2022 summit eruption.

 

January 5, 2023 — Kīlauea Summit Eruption

An eruption within Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea's summit, began at approximately 4:30 p.m. on January 5, 2023. 

person standing on edge of open crater with three cameras. orange lava erupting and flowing into crater.
A USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist documents the new eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The eruption began just after 4:30 p.m. on January 5, 2023, and remains confined to Halema‘uma‘u crater. USGS image by D. Downs.
landscape with a crater showing orange lava erupting into it and filling bottom of crater floor.
A new eruption began within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea just after 4:30 p.m. HST on January 5, 2023. Around 5:45 p.m. on the same day, an additional vent began erupting lava on the floor of the crater. The newer vent is located farther away in this image. USGS image by D. Downs.

 

January 4, 2023 — Kīlauea Summit Webcam Maintenance

HVO scientists upgraded the Kīlauea Summit Webcam on January 4, 2023. This view is currently streaming live at https://www.youtube.com/usgs/live.

 

person standing next to deep crater next to camera tripod
The KWcam webcam, on the west rim of Kīlauea caldera, was upgraded on January 4, 2023, to a more advanced model, which provides a slightly wider view and higher image quality. This should provide an improved view of any future activity in Halema‘uma‘u. In this photo, an HVO scientist begins the process of the webcam swap. USGS photo by M. Patrick.
Two images showing poorer and better resolution images of deep crater with blue sky and clouds above.
The KWcam webcam, on the west rim of Kīlauea caldera, was upgraded on January 4, 2023, to a more advanced model, which provides a slightly wider view and higher image quality. This should provide an improved view of any future activity in Halema‘uma‘u. In this photo, an HVO scientist begins the process of the webcam swap. USGS photo by M. Patrick.