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Fountain Dome Within Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Weakens

January 8, 2021, 1:03 PM HST
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8:13 AM HST Friday, Jan. 8, 2021: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

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

During an overflight of Kīlauea summit today (January 7, 2021) at approximately 10:30 a.m. HST, HVO geologists captured this image of the growing lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu. Sunny weather allowed for clear views of Mauna Loa, to the west. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

The dome fountain within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater weakened Thursday morning, forcing lava to flow out of the formerly spattering vents on the northwest crater wall and into the lake for several hours.

This morning, lava was flowing from the west vents through a crusted channel into the lake and there may be a small dome fountain merged with the outflow from this channel. Lava activity is still confined to Halemaʻumaʻu with lava erupting from vents on the northwest side of the crater. On Jan. 6, the lava lake was 636 feet deep and perched 1-2 yards above its edge.

SO2 emission rates were still elevated.

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Seismicity remained elevated but stable, with steady elevated tremor and a few minor earthquakes. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that additional magma is currently moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones. SO2 and H2S emissions from Puʻu ʻŌʻō were below instrumental detection levels when measured yesterday (Jan. 7).

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As of Jan. 6, the lava lake had a volume greater than 35 million cubic yards. The most recent thermal map (Jan. 7) provided the perched lake dimensions as 830 by 540 yards for a total area of 69 acres.

The main island of cooler, solidified lava floating in the lava lake moved slightly to the east while the 11 smaller islands remained stationary in the east end of the lake. The dimensions of the main island remained about 820 feet in length, 440 feet in width, and about 7 acres in area (based on the Jan. 5 thermal map).

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