The following is a transcript for the video article above.
Weak lava spattering has developed into continuous fountaining at Kilauea volcano on Hawaii island, as the vigor of the eruption has increased at the summit caldera.
This U.S. Geological Survey video taken on January 11 shows how the the surface activity has increased at the western vent since our last update. Low fountaining was supplying lava to an open channel that poured into the lava lake.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor the growth of the lava lake, and reported on Wednesday that it is 198 meters, 650 feet deep, and remains stagnant over its eastern half.
Summit tiltmeters began recording deflationary tilt this morning.
This aerial footage of the caldera was recorded on January 12th. Favorable conditions allowed HVO scientists to get clear views of the active fissure. A closer look reveals a spatter-cone of dark, fresh lava has built. It surrounds both the fountaining vent and its turbulent outflow channel down to the lava lake.
Aside from the increased activity at the western vent, there has been little change in the eruption overall. Seismicity remains elevated but stable, and there is no indication that additional magma is currently moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain elevated at 2,500 t/day.
While it cannot be known with certainty how this eruption will evolve overtime, history can give us an idea of what is possible.
Last week, three new chapters of the US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1867 were published. The documents examine the summit lava lake at Kīlauea Volcano from 2008 to 218, which was the longest sustained period of lava lake activity at the summit in decades.
The eruption onset in March 2 thousand 8 marked the first explosive activity at the summit since 1924, scientists wrote. There was only sporadic lava lake activity in the first 2 years. Over the next 8 years, the vent grew larger, and the crater evolved into one of the largest continuous lava-lakes on Earth.
It all culminated in the eruption on the lower East rift Zone in May 20 18, which destroyed hundreds of homes in lower Puna. The summit caldera collapsed as the lava lake drained away. Scientists estimated the volume change at over 825 million cubic meters, or 1 billion cubic yards. The vertical collapse of the crater floor was more than 500 meters, or 16 hundred feet.
For the next two years, there was no active lava to be seen anywhere on the volcano, until the new eruption began at the summit in December.
In another chapter, scientists present a visual essay depicting views from a Century of Activity at Kīlauea Caldera. Starting with this engraving made from a sketch by William Ellis in 1823.
A flow breaking out from a perched lava lake can be seen in this 1893 photo, courtesy the Hawaii State Archives.
This photo by Thomas Jaggar in 1917 shows the lava lake after the subsidence of molten lava left behind a rocky terrace.
Of course, before Western contact, Hawaiian observers recorded their impressions of other volcanic events in oral chants and traditions.
The lava lake drained in 1924, which led to the start of a period of explosive activity at the summit.
At the end of their visual essay, scientists concluded that while lava made occasional appearances in Halemaʻumaʻu after the 1924 explosions, including a 251-day-long active lava lake in 1967 and 68, eighty-four years would pass before a molten lava lake would return, reestablishing long-term occupancy at the summit of Kīlauea for one decade, starting in 2008.
Scientists say this pattern of collapse and eruption is part of the cyclic behavior that Kīlauea Volcano has shown many times over the past 200 hundred years.