Rockfalls into Halemaumau crater trigger explosive displays

Local News

The new year has brought some extra sizzle to the Big Island’s number one visitor attraction.

The timing couldn’t be better for the thousands who make the daily trek to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s been plenty of both the past few days coming from the lava lake inside of the expansive Halemaumau crater.

The volcanoes have been putting on it’s a little New Year’s celebration.

“Yes. So Kilauea has been inflated over the past few weeks or so,” said Matt Patrick. “With those higher level levels what we see is that when I cook the walls little more than usual it’ll cause a lot of rock cracking and popping a lot. So it stabilizes the cradle roll. I’m very often late will see chunks of the wall falling into the lake.”

Two separate rockfalls into the lava lake at Kilauea generated small explosive events Saturday and again Monday morning in the past four days.

For visitors to the park, that means great views from the Jagger Museum which over looks crater and lava lake.

“The lava level isn’t quite at the level where you can see it directly from the museum. With the glow always bright and is the wind is right, you can hear the sounds coming from the crater,” added Patrick.

Although Patrick says it’s pretty much business as usual from a geological stand point, meaning no imminent threat of a major eruption.

He says it’s a bonus when the volcano puts on a show.

“It’s always nice to have the activities so accessible I’m visible it’s good for visitors and scientists alike,” he explained.

Another good reason to visit the park right now is that it’s volcano awareness month.

As part of it, scientists are conducting a series of informational talks all over the park free of charge for all guests.

The observatory webcam captured the dusty gas plumes rising from the vent after after the rocks fell into the lava lake.

Lava inside the lake is also on the rise again, coming to within about 100 feet below the floor of Halemaumau crater.

Sunday marked the 33rd anniversary of the current continuous eruption.

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