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Kīlauea Lava Lake Depth Update: Empire State Comparison

5:36 AM · Mar 16, 2021

Since the original USGS graphic of the Empire State building was published on Day 3 of the current eruption, Kīlauea's lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater continues to fill and deepen. Over twice as much lava has been erupted since then, but because the crater widens at higher elevations, the lake depth has "only" increased by 40%, to a current measure of 725 feet or 221 meters at its deepest point. By our calculations, this would raise the lava level from the 44th floor to somewhere between the 59th and 60th floors of the Empire State building, if it was placed at the bottom of the crater. While the total eruption area has doubled, only 12% of its total footprint remains liquid at the surface, or 13 acres, equivalent to about one-quarter of the size of the active lava lake surface present on Day 3. The updated Empire State comparison graphic was produced by Hawaiʻi Tracker from USGS maps and the original graphic, which are included for reference. The accuracy of incremental lava levels is not perfect, but sufficient for educational purposes.