Kilauea volcano erupts in three places, new lava lake formed

Chris Burns - Dec 21, 2020, 10:31am CST
Kilauea volcano erupts in three places, new lava lake formed

Lava appeared after the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) announced detection of a a magnitude-4.4 earthquake located beneath Kīlauea Volcano’s south flank. This event was officially detected on Sunday, December 20 at 10:36 PM HST. A lava lake grew overnight at tremendous speed, and plenty of video and photos were recorded as liquid fire spewed forth from the depths.

Below you’ll see a tweet from USGS Volcanoes, showing the growing lava lake. The main lava fountain height at Kīlauea Caldera reached 18 meters (approximately 59 feet). This fountain was joined with two other fissures, delivering fuel to the lava lake at the base of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

Next you’ll see a tweet from Simon Cardn, Professor of Geology at Michigan Tech. This Volcanologist specializes in sharing “images of the Erupting World.”

The eruption and subsequent lava flow boiled away the water in Kilauea Lake, forming a new lava lake. According to Native Hawaiian tradition, this crater is the dwelling of the volcanic deity Pele! The image you see at the head of this article was captured and shared by the National Park Service. Take a peek at their live camera feed to see more.

Above you’ll see a photo from the USGS showing the area from space. The red dots show approximate fissure locations each of which delivered some heat overnight. This is the first time the volcano has erupted since the year 2018. UPDATE: Officials suggest that the eruption started at approximately 9:30 PM HST amid a “brief” earthquake swarm near the summit.

Just after midnight HST, the National Weather Service announced that the eruption is easing “with just a low-level steam cloud lingering.” All signs suggest that this eruption occurred and ended with no deaths, other than that of the water lake, which – again – has been replaced by a newly formed lava lake.

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