See dramatic views of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupting

December 22, 2020 0 By boss

This view comes from a thermal camera on the western rim of the  Halema’uma’u crater and the Kilauea summit. It shows the first few hours of the eruption starting on Dec. 20.

USGS GIF by L. DeSmither

The year will not be going out quietly in Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano roared back to life with a fresh eruption starting Sunday night. The US Geological Survey is monitoring the volcano and has shared eye-opening footage and images of the event.

Much of the action is happening in the volcano’s Halemaʻumaʻu crater, which had been filled with water. “Lava is cascaded into the summit water lake, boiling off the water and forming a new lava lake,” USGS tweeted Monday along with an image showing a fissure that was producing a 165-foot (50-meter) lava fountain. 

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded an earthquake of a 4.4 magnitude shortly after the eruption began. As of Monday, the lava lake was rising slowly and the volcano was emitting a gas plume that stretched to the southwest.

USGS also released a stunning video of the eruption captured before midnight. 

NASA and NOAA’s Suomi NPP weather satellite caught sight of the volcano, seeing it as a glowing spot

Kilauea went through a notable eruption in 2018, which was tracked by satellites and photographed by an astronaut on the International Space Station. That event triggered evacuations and destroyed structures in the lava flow zone. It’s too early to know what will happen with the current eruption. 

One Twitter user inquired if the eruption was connected to the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter happening Monday, but there’s nothing otherworldly going on here. The USGS responded, “No. Kilauea has been recharging for months, and had a small intrusion — sort of a false start — a few weeks ago. This has been brewing for a while.”

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