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Kīlauea Report: Filling Lake Laps Onto Inner Ledge

4:34 AM · Nov 3, 2021

Just over one month into Kīlauea’s second eruption in 2021, and the filling lava lake has reached the northeast inner ledge at an elevation of roughly 2585 ft or 788 m above sea level. The current eruption has added 170 ft or 52 m to the previously crusted lake, for a total thickness of 919 ft or 280 m to its deepest point since late 2020. However, the combined output of both eruptions thus far only corresponds to about 8% of the volume lost during the 2018 summit collapse. The lava lake retains an active surface near this eruption’s West Vent, with movement to the northeast and southeast before submerging beneath the crusted areas, which also continue to slowly lift. This creates gaps between that rising, hardened crust and the crater walls which widen upwards, and which are immediately filled by lava flows oozing up from below. It is these “ooze-up flows” that have started to spread onto a low spot on the northern ledge, which still remains 26 ft or 8 m lower than the surface on the opposite end of the lava lake, where it still bulges near the vent. The rising lake has also brought further change to the eruptive style from the West Vent, which has become further and further submerged since October 3rd, evolving from low fountaining with episodic higher bursts during the first few weeks to the “low roiling and spatter bursting” which is dominant today. Curiously, the spatter cone surrounding the vent has not remained fixed to the crater wall like the two vents during the previous eruption, but rather has also been rising, carried upwards by the filling lava lake, and coming fully into view from the public viewing area near Keanakākoʻi within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Paralleling December 2020, the effusion rate one month into the eruption has decreased from its initial weeks, suggesting that while past its peak, it may also continue erupting for some time at a lower output. As expected, there continue to be no signs of the current activity affecting the Lower East Rift Zone. Gas emissions remain in the ~4000 tonnes per day range, creating persistent vog for downwind communities as the eruption’s main hazard. -- Join our special live video review of Kīlauea’s ongoing eruption at 5pm Hawaiʻi time weekly on Thursdays! To support our productions please like, share and subscribe! Mahalo! #Kilauea2021 #KilaueaErupts USGS Images: 1. A telephoto image of the northeast margin of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u, at Kīlauea summit, on November 1, 2021. The lava lake has now risen high enough to start covering the lowest portion of the down-dropped block on the north side of Halema‘uma‘u. Lava is just starting to cover a small area—immediately south (right) of a fumarole (white steam and yellow sulfur patch)—close to the northeastern lake margin (center left). USGS photo by N. Deligne. 2. A wide view of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, on November 1, 2021. This view, looking east, shows the west vent (bottom center) which continues to supply lava to the active portion of the lava lake, while the eastern portion (far side of lake) is crusted over. The active lake is primarily between the west vent source and the main island (center) and has a silver-gray appearance in this photo. The northeastern end of the lava lake has now risen high enough to start covering the lowest portion of the down-dropped block on the north side of Halema‘uma‘u (center left), formed during the 2018 Kīlauea caldera collapse. USGS photo by N. Deligne. 3. A wide view of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, on October 29, 2021. This view, looking north, shows the west vent (left) which continues to supply lava to the active portion of the lava lake, while the eastern (right) portion is crusted over. The active lake is primarily between the west vent source and the main island (center). USGS photo by N. Deligne.

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Hope it's still active when my daughter comes to visit! I don' think she has seen active lava since she was a toddler.

Nov 3, 2021

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