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Kilauea's Summit Eruption Enters Fourth Year

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

National Park News

While the recent display of lava fountains and flows on Kilauea’s east rift garnered worldwide attention, not to be overlooked is the volcano’s “other eruption.” This past Saturday marked the third anniversary of the ongoing eruption within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano.

In early March, the summit lava lake rose to within 230 feet of the vent’s rim. However, during the short-lived east rift eruption, the lake drained from view, buried by rubble.

By March 14th, the lava lake was again visible deep within the vent.  On the anniversary evening, a webcam recorded the increasingly bright glow and rising lava lake. 

Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory closely monitor the summit vent. They collect the strands and droplets of glass that rain down around the vent, calculate the depth and breadth of the lava lake, and measure sulfur dioxide emission rates.

HVO also provides daily online updates and focuses webcams on the eruption.

Throughout the day and into evening, visitors and staff gather and watch the ash-laden plume waft skyward, its direction determined by the whims of wind.

Unpredictably, the glow from the vent waxes and wanes. A dim glow reflects a crusted-over lava lake; a brighter glow tells of a lake agitated by rock falls and bursts of spatter.

The summit eruption continues… 


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