Kilauea Volcano lava flow steady after starts and stops

  • The active lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater is visible, just right of the center of this photo, on Monday evening. (USGS HVO webcam/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Telephoto view looking east of the southeast embayment of the active lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u, Kilauea, on April 26. In this photo, lava from the active lava lake (silvery grey surface in lower left quadrant of photo) cascades into the southeast embayment (red surface). As the lava surface within the southeast embayment was constant during the several hour observation period, it appears that from the southeast embayment lava is plunging underneath the crater floor, contributing to the gradual rise of the crater floor surface. USGS photo by N. Deligne.

  • The eruption continues within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea on April 26. The active lava lake is visible within the middle right of the photo and has a silvery surface appearance. Within the active lava lake, lava flows from an inlet on the west (bottom) margin towards the east. Some of this lava then cascades into an embayment southeast of the main active lava lake, which on April 26 had red hot roiling lava at the surface. As the level within the southeast embayment is not rising, it appears that lava is plunging underneath the cooled crater floor area, contributing to gradual overall crater floor rise. USGS photo taken by N. Deligne.

  • In this photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, lava erupts within the summit crater of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island, March 4, 2022. Kilauea is now erupting a steady stream of lava after a period of intermittent pulsing. The latest eruption began in September but until recently had been stopping and starting every few days. Now the pulsing nature of the eruption has changed and a steady flow of lava is once again filling the volcano’s crater. The flow has been nonstop for more than two weeks. (L. Gallant/USGS via AP)

HONOLULU — Kilauea Volcano is now erupting a steady stream of lava after a period of intermittent pulsing.

The latest eruption began in September but until recently had been stopping and starting every few days, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

ADVERTISING


Now the pulsing nature of the eruption has ended and a steady flow of lava is once again filling the volcano’s Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The flow has been nonstop for more than two weeks.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey said that while the volcano is ultimately unpredictable, the current activity shows no signs of slowing and some historic eruptions have lasted decades.

“It could go on for quite some time,” said Ken Hon, scientist in charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “For now it is reestablishing its conduits in the summit area.”

A lava lake more than 300 feet deep has formed in Halema‘uma‘u Crater since the start of the latest eruption.

There was another brief eruption in the crater that began in 2020 and lasted for several months. It was the first since a major 2018 eruption caused parts of the summit to collapse and massive amounts of lava to flow into Big Island neighborhoods.

Halemaumau Crater has long been home to massive eruptions. The 2018 eruption drained all the lava from the summit lake that had been active there for years.

“It’s an exciting time for volcano watchers,” said Ken Rubin, University of Hawaii professor of earth sciences.

“It’s interesting to watch the pulse of the volcano,” Rubin said, “because although most of it is predictable or understandable by us after the fact, it doesn’t mean we’re able to fully explain every aspect that’s happening there in real time.”

The eruption is within view from some areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but officials say weather and time of day can change the visibility.

“There are more visitors, and the active volcano is one of the reasons,” said Jody Anastasio, acting public information officer for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

To avoid crowds, Anastasio suggests visiting during late night or early morning hours when the glow of the lava lake can be seen from afar and fewer people are in the park.