The periodic ash plumes blown out from Halemaumau crater are a constant reminder that the destructive lava flows in Leilani Estates are part of a system from Kilauea Volcano.
Ash emissions have diminished, and U.S. Geological Survey Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory scientists say is may be due to the accumulation of rubble at the base of the growing summit eruptive vent.
Earthquake activity remains high due to continued summit deflation, and additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ash fall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.
A Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) mission on May 31, 2018, captured the dramatic changes occurring within Halemaumau crater since the explosive eruptions of ash and gas along with the ongoing crater wall collapse began in mid-May.
Clearly visible are the steep, and in places, overhung crater walls. You can also see new cracks and faults that reflect ongoing subsidence of the area and intense steaming from a new collapse pit on the north margin of Halemaumau.
Footage shows yellow sulfur precipitate on the rubble-covered floor and a scattering of large ballistic blocks around the crater rim.
Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Scientists will be examining the footage in detail to understand how the expanding collapse area is evolving, the extent of ballistic debris, and other clues as to what is happening at Kilauea’s summit.
This information informs assessment of hazards, which is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.
The UAS video was taken by the USGS and the Office of Aviation Services, Department of the Interior, with support from HVO and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
This animated GIF shows a pair of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 23 at 6:00 p.m. HST and May 31 at 6:00 p.m. HST.