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Kīlauea Eruption From Space

1:42 AM · Jan 7, 2021

A series of high-resolution satellite images has been released by PlanetLabs on their website and Twitter, documenting Kīlauea volcano's eruption on December 21, 24 and 27, 2020. The first two images show lava erupting from the northern vent inside Halemaʻumaʻu crater, the deep pit within the volcano's caldera. The December 21 image was taken less than 24 hours into the eruption, when lava was coming out faster, buoyed by higher volumes of volcanic gas which unfortunately obscure most of the western view. If you zoom in and look closely, you can see portions of several also-active western vents through the fumes. The lava lake surface appears silvery and gray during the day, as it forms a moving crust where it loses most of its upwards heat. By December 24, the northern vent can be seen to be almost submerged beneath the filling lava lake. It stopped erupting a little more than a day later. Activity immediately switched to the western vent, which had also been erupting lava throughout, though not as much and not as continuously as the northern vent. The final, mesmerizing image on December 27, shows the active western vent and inactive northern vent on the sunny side of the crater. Meanwhile, on the dark side we can see lava lake glowing through the cracks in its crust. Another visible feature on all three images is the rafting island of lighter rock, rising with the filling lava lake, appearing in a different place on each image. The 7-acre chunk of lighter rock was formed when the lava from the new eruption entered the water lake which previously inhabited the crater, and which boiled away in the first 2 hours of the eruption on December 20. That first frothy lava, with lots of trapped gas, was coated with layer after layer of new lava to form the drifting feature we see today. The crater continues to slowly fill with lava over two weeks into the eruption. #Kilauea2021 Sources:!/post/lava-lake-on-kilauea

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