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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Active Lake Shrinks, Reduced to Single Fountain

3:03 AM · Jan 12, 2023

Over the past several days of Kīlauea's renewed summit eruption, its active lava lake area has shrunk substantially and its multitude of small lava fountains have disappeared from the lake surface, except for a single remaining fountain that continues feeding the eruption. While this pattern parallels that seen in the first few weeks of the September 2021 and December 2020 eruptions, the lava output has instead focused in the eastern crater floor rather than at a western vent, and reduced its active area at a much faster pace. The previous, persistent western lava lake basin has also been reoccupied by lava, this time flowing in through sub-crustal pathways from the east rather than its previous vent complex to the west, which has also resumed glowing since then. All activity remains contained within Kīlauea's summit crater of Halemaʻumaʻu, with no indications of unusual activity in either rift zone, and thus no lava threat to people. However, gas emissions resumed at 12,500 tonnes per day on January 6, dropping to 3,500 tonnes per day on January 9, generating vog that remains the primary hazard of concern for downwind communities. Lava viewing has been fantastic but busy within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, with unique views from all around Kaluapele, Kīlauea's summit caldera. We share those various views as captured by different photographers recently, as well as revisit the dramatic opening video sequences of the eruption captured from the public overlook by NPS photographer Janice Wei, including its highest fountains and a series of fast-moving waves across the lava lake that spread onto the crater floor. Recent USGS webcam video releases also capture the event from various angles. We review the recent changes in the eruption using webcam timelapses, videos, and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, annotating the presentation on-screen as we go, and discuss live viewer questions as usual. Maunaloa has been unaffected by Kīlauea's activity, and its recent lava flows continue to cool, with no further monitoring changes to report. https://youtu.be/2pFPCNnCqBI

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