Video Shows Astonishing Changes in Crater

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U.S. Geological Survey released the following video and attempts to explain a few questions being asked:

This new U.S. Geological Survey aerial video reveals the astonishing changes within Halema‘uma‘u Crater and the vent that housed a 12-acre lava lake up until a few weeks ago. The vent is now about 100 acres, and is devoid of lava as far as the eye can tell.

Where did all that lava go? Is the vent capped in rock material now? When, or how could it, explode? These are the questions scientists will try to answer by studying this video and other data they are collecting about the ongoing changes with the #KilaueaEruption.


A UAS mission on May 31, 2018, filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea’s summit since explosive eruptions of ash and gas and ongoing wall collapse began in mid-May.

Clearly visible are the steep, and in places, overhung crater walls, new cracks and faults that reflect ongoing subsidence of the area and intense steaming from a new collapse pit on the north margin of Halema‘uma‘u. Footage also shows yellow sulfur precipitate on the rubble-covered floor and a scattering of large ballistic blocks around the crater rim.

This video was taken from a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The overflights collect visual information on what is happening at this rapidly changing eruption site. Scientists will be examining the footage in detail to understand how the expanding collapse area is evolving, the extent of ballistic debris, and other clues as to what is happening at Kīlauea’s summit.


This information informs assessment of hazards, which is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers. Video by the U.S. Geological Survey and Office of Aviation Services, Department of the Interior, with support from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

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