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Lava Lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Nears 600-Foot Depth

December 28, 2020, 11:41 AM HST
* Updated December 28, 1:51 PM
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7:57 AM HST Monday, Dec. 28, 2020: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Daily Update

Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

HVO field crews observed the continuing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u at Kīlauea’s early this morning. Overnight, the western vent in the wall of Halema‘uma‘u continued to erupt, and the northern/eastern vent remained inactive. At approximately 4:30 a.m. HST today (Dec. 28), HVO field crews measured the lava lake as 179 m (586 ft) deep. Note that initial values reported here were incorrect; values reported here were corrected as of 9:30 a.m. HST. USGS photo by D. Downs.

Lava activity at Kīlauea volcano remains confined to the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, with lava erupting from a vent on the northwest side of the crater with two or three narrow channels visible this morning.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the lava lake was 581 feet deep with a narrow black ledge around it and about 1,340 feet below the south Halemaʻumaʻu rim. Additionally, reduced SO2 emissions were measured Sunday morning with rates about 5,500 tonnes/day–lower than the 40,000 t/d for the first three days of the eruption, but still elevated.

The lake volume was about 28 million cubic yards or 4.9 billion gallons. The most recent thermal map (Dec. 26) provided the lake dimensions as 864 by 569 yards for a total area of 72 acres.

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Geodetic monitors also indicate that the upper portion of the East Rift Zone contracted while the summit deflated. This was associated with magma withdrawal to feed the summit vents. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that magma is moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones.

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