Volcano Watch: What’s that rising from the lava lake?

View looking down at the September-October 2021 lava lake eruption of Halemaʻumaʻu from the F1 thermal camera located on the western rim of the crater at Kilauea’s summit. Molten material appears as warmer colors of yellow, orange, and pink, whereas cooler material is represented by dark blue and purple colors. The left-hand image is from Sept. 29 at 5:32 p.m. and shows that the lava lake has essentially repaved the floor of the carter with the exception of the central raft and part of the old west vent system. The right-hand image is from Oct. 4 at 7:50 p.m. with noticeably darker blue/purple rafts present throughout the eastern part of the lava lake and with both the central raft and old western vent system having more exposed area. (USGS images/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The past year has seen fluctuating lava lakes, ephemeral lava fountains, craggy spires, and drifting “islands” reminiscent of pre-1924 Halemaʻumaʻu activity at the summit of Kilauea. The recent activity has USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists reflecting on prior observations and how they compare to recent activity.