Kilauea Summit Lava Lake Explodes, Overflows
A Tuesday morning explosion at the summit of Kilauea Volcano impacted the lava lake that has been on the rise since April 21.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory noted that around 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, a rockfall that originated from the wall of Halema’uma’u Crater impacted the lava lake at the summit. The impact caused an explosion which consisted of spatter and small particles.
During the time of the explosion, HVO geologists working on the far side of the crater observed the plume rising. The explosion sent large quantities of spatter around the closed Halema’uma’u visitor overlook area.
According to HVO, the explosion also caused fragments to fall onto the rim of Halema’uma’u crater, located 280 feet above the lava lake. Officials say the fragments are significant hazards and are contributing factors to the consistent closing of the area.
At the summit, the Kilauea lava lake has shown signs of an inflationary tilt since Tuesday. HVO says the inflation rate had begun to show a slight decrease Wednesday morning.
The lava lake level has been at or near the rim of the Overlook since Tuesday, according to HVO. At 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, an overflow of the lava lake onto the Halema’uma’u Crater occurred for the first time. The event was small and brief, according to HVO officials, and was preceded by a larger overflow at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. As of 8 a.m., HVO said another overflow was occurring.
Elevated seismicity below Kilauea’s summit and upper East and Southwest Rift Zones continues, according to HVO.
On the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the tiltmeter recorded deflation on Tuesday that was followed by inflation Wednesday morning. HVO officials say no additional changes were noted at Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
June 27 lava flow breakouts extending from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent continue to be observed by webcam imagery. According to HVO views, of nighttime incandescence and daytime smoke indicate that the surface flow continues to be active to the northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. In addition, the most distant activity continues to be in the area about 5 miles from the northeast crater of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that was mapped in April.