POSTED: 3:53 a.m. HST, May 18, 2012
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists released new video and photos of spattering in Halemaumau Crater that they describe as "impressive."
The lava’s continuous activity is punctuated by bursts that throw lava onto an inner ledge more than 210 feet below the floor of Halemaumau Crater.
The cooling lava forms a black crust, which sinks below the surface of the lake in the spatter area.
Lava thrown onto the ledge is building what scientists describe as a "spatter rampart."
The spattering in the video is on the west side of the lava lake.
Scientists said the spattering activity shifted overnight to the east and south sides of the lake.<
The lava lake is about 420 feet across in a vent below the floor of Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea volcano’s summit. The lake's surface rises and falls in the vent as the volcano goes through what are known as inflation/deflation cycles.
Lava levels have been high during the last week. But they can dip to more than 492 feet below the crater floor, out of the view of the scientists' cameras.