New Map of East Rift Zone

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The U.S. Geological Survey released this map as of Monday, May 21, 2018, at 8 a.m.

Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960 and 2014-2015. Click to enlarge.

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system. The series shows changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred over Saturday, May 5, at 6:12 a.m., Thursday, May 17 at 6:12 a.m., and Monday, May 21 at 6:12 a.m. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the reflection, with bright areas indicating a strong reflection and dark areas a weak reflection. Strong reflections indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak reflections come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar.

The May 5 image was acquired before any small explosions occurred from the summit. The May 17 and 21 images show changes to the summit area after the onset of small explosions and ash emissions. Major changes over time include:

  1. A darkening of the terrain south of Halema‘uma‘u, which reflects accumulation of ash;
  2. Enlargement of the summit eruptive vent on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u;
  3. The development of a disrupted area on the east rim of Halema‘uma‘u that may reflect slumping of a portion of the rim towards the growing collapse pit on the crater floor.


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