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November 17, 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 photograph of steaming area
During a helicopter overflight on November 16, 2021, HVO scientists monitored a thermal steaming area near Heiheiahulu, on Kīlauea's middle East Rift Zone. The expanse of this thermal area has not changed or expanded significantly since the previous overflight of the area in March 2021. This view, from the north and looking south, shows two dark areas where vegetation has died due to heat from the steam. The steaming area is on the north side of older (200-400 years old) vegetated spatter cones. USGS image by C. Parcheta. 
Wide aerial view of an active lava lake within a crater. The active vent is emitting a gas plume
HVO geologists observed ongoing eruptive activity with Halema‘uma‘u crater during a helicopter overflight of the Kīlauea summit on the morning of November 16, 2021. Lava continues to erupt from a vent on the west side (far side in this photo) of Halema‘uma‘u. Low winds allowed the plume to rise vertically above the crater. The lava lake surface is now level with the lowest of the down-dropped blocks remaining from the 2018 summit collapse event, north of Halema‘uma‘u. A lava flow from the lake onto this block can be seen on the east side (near side) of the lava lake. The largest (and highest) down-dropped block is in the foreground. The flanks of Mauna Loa can be seen behind the plume in the background. USGS image by B. Carr. 
Annotated thermal image of an active lava lake and volcanic vent
This thermal image is looking west and shows the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea. The active lava on the surface is limited to the west side of the lake, near the west vent. The eastern portion is solidified at the surface, with small ooze-outs often active along the lake perimeter. One of these ooze-outs has recently flowed a short distance onto the lowest down-dropped block. USGS image by M. Patrick.
Aerial photo of a cooled lava lake overflow onto a lighter and older lava surface
The elevation of the surface of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater has now risen slightly above the level of the lowest down-dropped block from the 2018 collapse of Kīlauea summit. Overnight on November 15, 2021, a lava break-out from the edge of the lake allowed lava to flow onto the surface on the block. HVO geologists observed this new flow during a helicopter overflight of the Kīlauea summit on November 16. USGS image by B. Carr.