Kilauea lava lake persists in Hawaii after largest volcanic eruption in at least 200 years


April 15, 2022

Since May 2018, when the lava lake Kilauea last dried up, the crater at the top has filled with water, erupted again, boiled water and refilled with lava.

Four years ago this month the youngest in Hawaii and the most active volcano the largest eruption in 200 years. The Lower Eastern Rift Zone (LERZ) The eruption in Kilauea, which began on May 3, 2018, destroyed 700 buildings and forced thousands of residents to evacuate. Scientists still study of the eruption and its consequences.

The 2018 eruption was significant globally, not just for Hawaii. Kilauea ejected up to 1.4 cubic kilometers (about 0.34 cubic miles) of lava in just four months. For comparison, the eruption from the Pu’u’o Hole in the Middle East Rift Zone, which began in 1983 and lasted for 35 years, ejected a total of 4.4 cubic kilometers (1.1 cubic miles) of lava and destroyed 215 structures.

The LERZ eruption in 2018 also dramatically changed the volcanic magma water system. It ended the eruption from the Pu’u’o hole, the longest eruption in the world. And it collapsed to the bottom of the Halemaumau Crater Peak, lowering it more than 500 meters (1,600 feet) and draining a lava lake that has united in the Peak Crater since 2008.

The lava lake was replaced by a water lake in July 2019, an event unprecedented in history. Over the next year and a half, the water slowly filled the crater to a depth of about 50 meters (160 feet).

The water of the lake was special of interest to scientists because Kilauea has an unusual history of both effusive and explosive eruptions. The latter are usually harsher and more destructive, and they are often due to the interaction of magma with water – a fact that has forced observers of volcanoes to be especially wary of activity. However, in December 2020, a new phase of the eruption began with the influx of lava into the crater, which boiled out of the lake in a few hours. This eruption started a new lava lake and lasted until May 2021. The last eruption began in September 2021 and continues today.

The image above was obtained on April 15, 2022 by the operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9. The image includes a combination of visible and infrared light (ranges 6-5-3), which helps to distinguish the thermal signature of the lava. Kilauea lava lake persists in Hawaii after largest volcanic eruption in at least 200 years

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