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Christmas Evening Eruption Update: Fissure Fountains Growing Weaker

6:38 AM · Dec 26, 2020

Both fissures feeding the lava lake appear to be growing weaker compared to yesterday. The western fissure has continued to weaken and reports from field crews are that only intermittent spattering is visible now from it. This afternoon, USGS crews observed that the "fissure seems weaker than last night." The big question is what will happen when the primary fissure is completely blocked by the lake. It's possible some fountains could bubble up in the lake. This happened in the 1967-1968 eruption in Halema'uma'u as you can see from the photos on this page. Another possibility is that this first episode could stop once the lake covers the fissure. Will be interesting to see what happens next! (Images and captions via USGS) Image 1 The Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit continues to slowly fill with lava from the ongoing eruption. As the lava lake rises, it gradually drowns more of the northern fissure. The western fissure activity continues to weaken, and field crews are reporting that only rare intermittent spattering is visible. USGS photo taken on December 25 by F. Trusdell. Image 2 The main northern fissure erupting within Halema‘uma‘u is slowly being drowned by the rising lava lake. This telephoto image shows that the fissure has two adjacent fountains, the main fountain is on the east (right side) and there is a tiny fountain to the west (left side). The smaller fountain is not visible from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams located on Halema‘uma‘u’s western rim, because the fissures spatter cone blocks it from view. USGS photo taken on December 25 by F. Trusdell. Image 3 On the evening of December 25, 2020, the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit continued. Throughout the day, fountaining at two vents continued to feed the rising lava lake which slowly fills Halema‘uma‘u. This photo, taken at approximately 6 p.m. HST from the south rim of the crater shows the main northern vent that is being drowned by the rising lava lake. Intermittent activity continues at the weaker west vent. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

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