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Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – May 20, 2021

May 20, 2021

Kīlauea's summit eruption continues on the Island of Hawai‘i; Halema‘uma‘u west vent erupts lava into the lava lake, which was 229 m (751 ft) deep this morning, May 20. Gas emissions and seismic activity at the summit remain elevated. HVO field crews—equipped with specialized safety gear—monitor the eruption from within

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.

May 19, 2021 — Kīlauea

The area of active surface lava has diminished over the past month in Halema`uma`u crater, at the summit of Kilauea. Yesterday, active surface lava was limited to a small pond, about 20 meters (yards) long. The pond surface was normally covered with a stationary crust, but occasionally resurfaced. This video shows crustal foundering during a resurfacing event. A gust of wind shakes the camera at the start of the video. 

Active surface lava limited to a small pond in Halema‘uma‘u

Thermal images of lava lake
This comparison of thermal images taken from the south rim of Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, show the diminishing area of active lava on the surface over the past month. Yesterday, active lava was limited to a small pond, about 20 meters (yards) long, near the western fissure. USGS images by M. Patrick.


Color images of lava lake surface
Active surface lava in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, is now limited to a small lava pond near the western fissure. Normally the lava pond is covered in a stationary crust, as shown by the image on the left. Occasionally, the pond abruptly resurfaces with fluid lava, with foundering of crustal plates and abundant bubbling, shown by the image on the right. The resurfacing process takes just a few minutes. USGS photos by M. Patrick.

May 17, 2021 — Kīlauea

Thermal timelapse of summit lava lake

The lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active but has diminished in area and vigor over the past month. This thermal timelapse sequence shows the changes in the lake activity over the past month. In mid-April the area of active surface lava in the lake was approximately 7.5 acres (3 hectares). By mid-May the area was about 0.5 acres (0.2 hectares). Taken from the automated camera (F1cam).