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December 20, 2021

A new eruption at Kīlauea's summit began at approximately 3:20 p.m. HST on September 29, 2021. Lava activity is currently confined within Halema‘uma‘u crater, in the closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 

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.

Color photo of a volcanic vent erupting into an active lava lake
This photo from Friday, December 17, shows that the west vent remains active in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea. A steep cone has been built over the vent, with lava supplied to the perched lava lake from the base of the cone. USGS photo by E. Gallant.
Telephoto image of an active volcanic spatter cone
A close-up view of the steep cone recently built over the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea. Spatter was occasionally thrown over the rim onto the flanks of the cone. USGS photo taken by E. Gallant on December 17, 2021.
Telephoto image of a lava stream from an active lava lake
A close-up view of an overflow on the levee of the perched lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea. USGS photo taken by E. Gallant on December 17, 2021.
Eruptive activity on the west side of Halema‘uma‘u crater, Kīlauea summit, on December 20. Audible bubble bursts from the west vent (lower right) produced brown-tinted gas plumes with entrained lava fragments. The bursts also created pressure waves that displaced the white steam. Just north of the west vent (left), lava was overflowing a levee during a surge in effusive activity that began just before 1:00 p.m. The overflow fed a lava flow that stretched from the west side of Halema‘uma‘u and along the crater wall to the north. During this time, lava also continued to flow into the lava lake (towards the top of the frame).
Nighttime photo of a volcanic vent fountaining and supplying lava into an active lava lake
The eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, continues to feed a rising lava lake. During the evening of December 15, 2021 a period of increased eruptive activity included lava entering the lake from multiple sources and frequent large spatter bursts throwing lava onto the sides of the west vent cone. Photo was taken from the public viewpoint near Keanakāko‘i crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. USGS photo taken by B. Carr.
Nighttime image of a volcanic vent fountaining and feeding an active lava lake
Lava erupting from the west vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit. Frequent large spatter bursts were observed at the west vent during a period of increased eruptive activity that lasted for a few hours on the evening of December 15, 2021. This photo was taken from the public viewpoint near Keanakāko‘i crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. USGS photo taken by B. Carr.