The massive Hawaii volcano is constantly erupting, but recently there was more of an explosion, as a portion of the Halemaumau crater in Hawaii collapsed, impacting a lava lake and triggering what the U.S. Geological Survey said was “a small explosion.”
Over the past few weeks, the lava level has been rising inside the massive Halema‘uma‘u Crater of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. On Sunday, the massive Hawaii volcano put on a spectacular show for Big Island tourists when a portion of the crater collapsed into the lava lake.
The crater eventually falls into the lake of molten lava and exploded like gas as rocks the size of fists were shot out everywhere. Most were redeposited into the crater rim.
According to Janet Babb of the U.S. Geological Survey, the lava explosion to uncorking a bottle of champagne.
“You look at the bottle and you see the liquid, but you don’t see the gas.”
“There’s a lot of gas in the lava. And so, when that rock fall hits the lava lake, it’s like the moment you knock the top of the champagne bottle off and that gas is released and it hurls molten lava and rock fragments.”
The Halema‘uma‘u Crater, which surrounds the lava lake, is actually embedded within the main Kilauea crater on the Big Island of Hawaii. All three features are visible from the visitor center of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and tend to be the highlight for tourists. Usually, the attraction is the plume of gas that is nearly constantly streaming from the lava lake, along with the dazzling orange glow that the lava casts upon the clouds. Lava is constantly flowing, oftentimes into surrounding neighborhoods.
According to the USGS, visitors of this massive volcano are witnessing Hawaii volcano history.
“Because of the high lava lake level, visitors at the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park can, for the first time since the Kīlauea summit eruption began in March 2008, see the actual lake surface, as well as molten lava spattering above the vent rim,” wrote the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.