Skip to comments.Shades of Halemaumau! Active Lava Pond in Kilauea's Pu'u O'o Crater
Posted on 07/06/2007 12:09:55 PM PDT by cogitator
The link above goes to the Webcam on the rim of Kilauea's Pu'u O'o crater. After a brief eruption hiatus last week, lava has returned to the crater, and the crater is hosting an active lava pond/lake. According the web site, nighttime views are spectacular. Close examination of the images when they change every five minutes indicates that the pond is active.
Eruption Update Page
* ping *
Somebody must have ticked off Pele. (And I don’t mean the soccer player)
I can see a litte red and orange down there. I’ll have to check back after dark.
Yes, you can see incandescence where there are cracks in the crust. Nighttime is the righttime!
There are a lot of interesting time lapse movies at the site as well.
Remember that Hawaii is three to six hours behind the U.S. mainland, time-wise. West Coasters can probably start to see the “fireworks” about midnight; East Coasters like me will have to check in the morning. I had a dawn view of the lake this morning.
The reports (and visual indications, i.e., me looking at the images) say that the level is still rising. A couple of things could happen. One, it could drain back and disappear. Two, the mass of the lake could cause the cone (Pu'u O'o) to fracture, and a fast-moving flow of lava could shoot out the base of the cone. This happened at Nyiragongo in 1977 -- flows moved up to 40 mph, even catching elephants on the run. Three, the lake could rise until the cone overflows, causing a magnificent lava fall.
The classic theory holds that there is a (single, stationary) hot spot under the slowly-moving central Pacific plate, and that the much more heavily-weathered (eroded) Hawaiian Islands towards Midway are the oldest and “coldest” and shortest.
Makes sense. But, if there is only one hot-spot, why is there a new island growing to the southeast of the Big Island (still underwater now) if the main volcanoes on the big island are still active?
It would appear that the hot-spot "source" can support multiple vents. Hualalai was recently active (1801), and Haleakala's (Maui) last eruption was in 1790. Mauna Loa is obviously still active -- this has been a relatively long hiatus for it.
Given that record, it's hard to even count Mauna Kea as extinct. Far be it for me to figure out the plumbing under the islands.