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Home » Volcanoes » Kilauea Volcano Eruption Pictures

Kilauea Volcano Eruption Pictures

A collection of United States Geological Survey images from early March, 2011

All images and captions by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Recent Photographs of Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea has been displaying some impressive fissure eruptions and lava fountaining. These images and captions from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are sample of activity between March 1 and March 10, 2011. For more recent or historic images visit the HVO website.

Thermal Images of Lava

Thermal image of two lava fountains
This thermal image was taken from a helicopter above the active fountains at the west end of the fissure system. There were two adjacent fountaining areas, with one situated within a spatter cone and the other bursting through a perched lava pond. The fountains were feeding a channelized flow that can be seen in the upper right portion of the image. USGS image.

Thermal image of a lava flow
This thermal image shows the channelized 'a'a flow that was being fed by the fountains at the west end of the fissure system today. Near the end of the flow, the channel empties into the delta-like flow front. USGS image.

Thermal image into Halema uma u vent
Views into the Halema`uma`u vent have been largely obscured by fume over the past several days, and the only consistent views have been with a thermal camera, which can "see" through the fume. This thermal image was taken at a nearly vertical angle from a helicopter, in order to see the bottom of the extremely deep and narrow vent cavity. Prior to the drop in lava level, the lava lake was near its high lava mark, shown by the hot ring on the upper vent cavity walls. The lava level dropped considerably over the past several days, retreating to a narrow opening deep within the vent cavity. USGS image.

Kamoamoa Fissures
Between Napau Crater and Pu`u `O `o

Kamoamoa fissures
Top A broad view of the Kamoamoa fissures. The fissures extend 2.3 km (1.4 mi) between Napau Crater and Pu`u `O `o. The western most fissure is just out of view in this photo.
Bottom On the west end of the fissure system, spatter ramparts are forming as the lava fallout solidifies in a mound upwind from the source. USGS image.

Kamoamoa fissures fountains
Top A view of the spattering source from the ground.
Bottom Lava was reaching heights above the tree line. USGS image.

Kamoamoa fissures lava flows
Top Lava from the erupting fissure produced a large flow that is moving southeast through the adjacent forest.
Bottom A close-up of the flow front in the forest. USGS image.

Kamoamoa Fissures

Lava flows into a deep crack
Lava pours from the fissure just after daybreak and cascades out of sight into a deep crack. HVO geologist near upper right for perspective. USGS image.

Spattering lava
Image showing low spattering that started moments earlier. Thick white steam from the crack in the foreground indicates that lava is about to reach the surface, and is seen doing so seconds later. USGS image.

Fissure segment shutting down
View toward the SW of fissure eruption. Fissure segment in forest has shut down. Compare to earlier photos before fissure opened up in tephra. USGS image.

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Lava fountain
Image showing low fountaining from the dominant vent, near the southwest end of the fissure system adjacent to Napau Crater, active during the day on March 7. USGS image.

Kamoamoa Eruption Overview

Kamoamoa eruption
Top Overview of the Kamoamoa eruption looking northeast toward Pu`u `O `o, in the background. The southwestern vent is in the foreground, while the northeastern vent is the distant fume at the base of Pu`u `O `o.
Bottom Overview of the Kamoamoa eruption looking south. The northeastern vent is to the left, and the southwestern vent is to the upper right. A river of lava, erupting from the southwestern vent, can be seen advancing toward the southeast through forest within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. USGS image.

Lava flow through a forest
The channelized flow from the western vent complex advanced significantly downslope through forest within the Hawai`I Volcanoes National Park. USGS image.

Helema`uma`u Vent

Helema uma u wall collapse
With lava retreating deeper into the Halema`uma`u vent cavity over the past two days, the cavity walls have experienced more frequent collapses. A collapse from the upper portion of the vent cavity produced a robust brown plume, but did not eject any large particles. USGS image.

Upwelling and spattering in Halema uma u crater
Top Following several collapses and small explosive events that deposited spatter on the floor of Halema`uma`u crater around noon today, the lava surface in Halema`uma`u was roiling and agitated for the remainder of the afternoon, with numerous points of upwelling and spattering.
Bottom A close-up of the active lava surface in Halema`uma`u. USGS image.

Another wall collapse in Halema uma u
Top Another large chunk of the rim collapsed into the Halema`uma`u lava lake.
Bottom The collapse produced a thick brown plume, but did not appear to trigger an explosive event in this case. USGS image.

Ash cloud from Pu u O o crater floor collapse
Ash cloud rising from Pu`u `O `o as crater floor collapses due to magma withdrawal. Incandescent rubble can be seen crumbling and rolling down the scarp. The east rim of Pu`u `O `o is in the foreground. USGS image.

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