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The Evolution of the Kilauea Summit Lava Lake

10:15 PM · May 16, 2021

The eruption of Kilauea inside Halema'uma'u is now on day 147 of the ongoing eruption. The intensity of the eruption has dramatically reduced in volume from the early months in late 2020, and early 2021. Today, the eruption is barely ongoing - with gas emissions comparable to periods of inactivity historically. This thermal aerial image compilation was produced by USGS showing the progression of the lava lake. "This compilation shows nine selected thermal maps created for the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, which began on December 20, 2020. The maps show the rapid emplacement and growth of the lake in the initial days. The main island shifts and rotates, presumably controlled by the lake currents. In mid-January, the eastern portion of the lake became solidified at the surface, with active surface lava limited to a diminishing area in the western portion of the lake, near the western fissure. By May 13, active surface lava was less than one percent of the total lake area. The declining area of active lava corresponds with a reduction in eruption rates and gas emissions. The color range shows the relative temperatures across the lake, with blue colors indicative of cooler temperatures and red colors indicative of warmer temperatures. USGS maps by M. Patrick and B. Car" ~ USGS


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