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Lava lake now over 500 feet deep inside Halemaumau Crater

  • Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

    Lava continues erupting at Halemaumau Crater atop Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii island. The western vent has become more active than the northern vent, which was spewing lava vigorously at the start of the eruption on Dec. 20. Hawaii Volcano Observatory field crews measured the rising lava lake up to 583 feet deep, as of 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 26.

  • COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
                                The Halemaumau Crater lava lake continues to grow. The northern fissure vent, top center, is inactive as the lava lake continues to drain. The “bathtub ring” of cooled lava is visible around the perimeter of the lava lake.

    COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    The Halemaumau Crater lava lake continues to grow. The northern fissure vent, top center, is inactive as the lava lake continues to drain. The “bathtub ring” of cooled lava is visible around the perimeter of the lava lake.

Lava continues to flow at the Kilauea summit but the lava lake in Halemaumau Crater is draining into one of the two vents that have been spouting lava.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported today that the crater lake was still 577 feet deep and about 1,360 feet below the Halemaumau rim as of Friday afternoon, with the lake level appearing to have dropped 6 feet, leaving a narrow, black ledge around the north edge.

The lava lake volume remained about 27 million cubic yards or 4.8 billion gallons.

The west vent, which had been less active than the north vent, reactivated early this morning, sending up to three narrow lava streams into the lake, according to the USGS. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crews measured lava fountains from the west vent to be at least 32 feet high.

After 3 a.m., the north vent quieted and started to slowly drain lava from the lake.

Sulfur dioxide emission rates measured Friday night suggest the rates have dropped, the USGS said.

A floating “island” of cooler, solidified lava appeared to have grounded itself near the north vent, but by 6 a.m. today it started to slowly drift to the southeast, the USGS said. The mass is about 850 feet long and 375 feet wide.

The USGS said the new activity at the Kilauea summit, which started Dec. 20, still presents the risk of hazards such as high levels of volcanic gas, rockfalls, explosions and volcanic glass particles. A visible haze, known as vog, has been observed in communities downwind of the volcano.

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