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VIDEO: Rising lava lake, explosive collapses mark increased activity at Kilauea volcano

Lava lake at bottom of eruptive vent on Halemaumau crater floor, Feb. 14. Photo: USGS

Months of fairly quiet eruptive activity at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have ended in recent days with a series of explosive rock collapses, earthquakes and a rising lava lake at Kilauea Volcano summit’s Halemaumau crater.

Halemaumau crater has been producing a steam and ash plume from an ever-expanding vent in its floor since March 2008. Six months later, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists discovered a lava lake roiling within the vent, deep below the surface of the Halemaumau crater floor.

On Monday, at 8:42 a.m., a large section of rock overhanging the vent collapsed into the lava lake sending an explosive ash plume skyward. A second rock overhang collapsed into the vent a few hours later, producing a similar explosive ash event. These were the largest of five total collapses occurring since Monday.

Click on the two frames below for USGS video of the second and fourth collapses:

Second of five collapses, Feb. 14. Video: USGS

Fourth of five collapses, Feb. 14. Video: USGS

Meanwhile, HVO geologists report that the lava lake inside the vent rose to 230 ft. below the floor of Halemaumau crater last night at around 8 p.m. The lake has regularly risen and fallen within the vent since being discovered, but has never overflowed into Halemaumau.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
New Kilauea volcano land collapses explosively into ocean
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park marking fifth anniversary of Halemaumau summit eruption
VIDEO: Big Island scientists tracking recent uplift of lava lake in Puu Oo crater

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