Kilauea lava lake expands as eruption continues

  • USGS image taken this morning (Wednesday, Dec. 30).

The lava lake inside Halemaʻumaʻu continues to expand as lava erupts from vents on the northwest side of the crater, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

As of 3:45 am this morning, the lava lake was 593 feet deep, with a narrow black ledge around it.

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The lake volume was about 5.2 billion gallons of lava. The most recent thermal map (Dec. 28) indicated the lake’s dimensions were 840 yards by 535 yards, for a total area of 72 acres.

Over the past day, the main island of cooler, solidified lava floating in the lava lake drifted slightly to the west in the lake and rotated counter-clockwise. The 10 or so much smaller islands to the east remained stationary. The main island measured about 820 feet in length and 440 feet in width.

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Seismicity near the eruption remained elevated but stable, with steady elevated tremors and a few minor earthquakes.

Geodetic monitors indicate that the upper portion of the East Rift Zone (between the summit and Puʻu ʻOʻo) contracted while the summit deflated. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that magma is moving into either of Kilauea’s rift zones, HVO said.

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