The Kilauea summit lava lake formed in 2008. Over the weekend, the level of lava rose more than 20 feet. But, it came just short of overflowing onto the floor of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The latest lava measurements have the lava at 7 feet below the crater rim.
Jessica Ferracane, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson, described the scene (via Hawaii News Now):
“There was a lot of spattering that visitors are able to see from the Jagger Museum observation deck and also a lot of rumbling sounds as the crater walls heat up and the rocks fall into that roiling lava lake below. After the sun sets and the darkness starts to come in, that dramatic glow from the lava lake casting it’s reflection on the clouds and on the plume of gas and ash coming out of there — it is just super dramatic and beautiful. Everybody is just super happy to see this. The action isn’t always like this, so the people who are lucky enough to be here right now are really in for a treat this evening.”
Park officials could not have asked for better timing. The spike in activity came during National Park Week, which lasted April 18th – 26th. There was already going to be a spike in visitors to the parks. The lava lake increase made sure visitors were in for a treat.
The National Park Service’s official blog for America’s National Parks in the Pacific has several fantastic photos of the lava lake. Here are a two of my favorite ones.
Check out the post for more.
Hawaii247.com shot this video on April 24th.
USGS officials also observed elevated seismic activity at Kilauea’s summit and upper East Rift Zone.
Here’re a few more facts about the summit lava lake.
According to the USGS, the dimensions of the lake are 520 feet by 690 feet.
Lava levels have varied tremendously in the past from about 25 meters to more than 200 meters below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. This most recent increase is the highest it’s ever been.
A “small explosive event” opened the Overlook crater (unofficial name) back in 2008. Since then, the crater has been continuously active.
Image credits: NPS, S. Geiger, Mark Wasser