comscore Latest from Kilauea: Lava overflows lake, rocks cause explosion | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Latest from Kilauea: Lava overflows lake, rocks cause explosion

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    This thermal image shows lava overflowing the lava lake rim onto the floor of Halemaumau Crater Wednesday.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY/
    Tuesday's explosion threw spatter that hit the remaining fencing on the Halemaumau overlook, partly burning it. The keys in the photo show scale.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    This image taken from a USGS video shows the lava lake at Halemaumau Crater just before an explosion Tuesday morning.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    The lava lake was close to the floor of Halemaumau Crater Tuesday morning, with spattering along the lake margin.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    This image from a webcamera overlooking Halemaumau Crater shows lava from the lake on the crater floor.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    A close look at one of the large pieces of spatter thrown onto the rim of Halema?uma?u Crater by Tuesday's explosion (keys are for scale).
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    Portions of the Halemaumau overlook fencing were knocked down by previous explosive events, and also by the wind over the past several years. The downed fencing, shown smoldering here, was then ignited by hot spatter from Tuesday's explosive event.
  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    This photo was taken moments after the explosion Tuesday, and shows the overhanging ledge of lava along the rim that was exposed as the lava level dropped.
  • USGS
    A rockfall from the wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater impacted the lava lake around 10:20 am, triggering an explosion of spatter and smaller particles. HVO geologists working on the far side of the crater captured the initial moments of the plume rising.
[ AD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS STORY ]

The rising lava lake at Kilauea volcano spilled over its rim onto the Halemaumau Crater floor overnight and Wednesday morning. 

The overflow is the latest development in the eruption of Kilauea, and follows an explosion Tuesday morning, caused by rocks falling into the lava lake at the bottom of Halemaumau Crater.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released a video and photos of the explosion and its aftermath.

Scientists said it happened at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday and the blast sent fragments of molten lava onto the rim of Halemaumau Crater, 280 feet above the lake. 

The overlook above the lake is closed to the public, but scientists visiting the area afterward saw fresh lava spatter.

Some lava from the explosion also landed on the Halemaumau webcam, melting some of the wire insulation but not enough to interrupt its operation.

Geologists reported Wednesday that the lava briefly overflowed at about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday night, and rose above the rim again at 2 a.m. and at about 8 a.m.

Webcameras showed lava from the lake on the Halemaumau Crater floor.

Scientists said there is little danger of lava now of lava rising over the Halemaumau Crater wallls and threatening the park.

The lava lake has been rising for the past week as Kilauea goes through a period of inflation.

The inflation continued Tuesday, but decreased slightly Wednesday morning.

The sight has drawn thousands of visitors to the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, with some people waiting 30 minutes to park or having to hike a mile to the lava viewing area from other parking areas.

The lava lake is not always visible from the Halemaumau crater rim.

The crater holding the lava lake is about 520 feet by 690 feet wide and the lava level rises and falls with inflation and deflation periods at Kilauea, from its current level to about 650 feet below the floor of Halemaumau.

In the last two years, the laval level has typically ranged from between 100 to 200 feet below the Halemaumau Crater floor.

The lava is at its highest point since the lake formed in 2008.

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up