Volcano Watch: The refilling of Halemaʻumaʻu crater

  • USGS graphic This plot shows the elevation of Halemaʻumaʻu crater along a line running from west (left) to east (right). The pre-2018 collapse line (blue) shows the relatively shallow depth of Halemaʻumaʻu during the lava lake period of 2008–2018. The post-collapse (2019) elevation line is black, showing that 500 m (1,640 ft) of collapse occurred during the 2018 eruption. The eruption which began in December 2020 created a lava lake that reached a depth of 226 m (740 ft) by May 2021 (green line). The current eruption has caused the lake surface to rise another 60 m (200 ft) and overflow a down-dropped block (red line).

  • N. Deligne/USGS photo The ongoing eruption at Kilauea summit continues to fill Halemaʻumaʻu crater with lava. A gas plume rises from the active vent on the west (left) side of the crater as lava flows from the vent into the rising lava lake (black surface). An overflow onto the lowest visible down-dropped block on the east (right) of the lava lake occurred on Nov. 15. Above the block with the overflow, the edge of the largest down-dropped block stretches from bottom- to center-right.

Halema‘uma‘u crater has undergone repeated changes during the past two centuries. Prior to 1924, the size and shape of the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake changed frequently and lava commonly spilled out across the floor of Kilauea caldera.