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Crater Collapse

Posted by Maya @ 2:28 on June 13, 2018  

Just three months ago one could visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and from the Jaggar Museum overlook you could look into Halemaumau crater and see the small lava lake in one area, simmering and burbling away.  At night you could see the lava glow.  In the daylight it looked like this:


Then after the big earthquake, the lava lake in the summit crater receded more than 1000 ft down as lava drained into the lower east rift zone to where the current lava eruption is fountaining.  Now the empty hole that was the summit vent is collapsing inward on itself, with earthquakes and steam cannon blasts of rock and ash.  It is more than twice the size shown in the first image.


That flat plate in the middle is the former floor of the crater, which has dropped down more than 300 ft.  In front of that is the deeper pit of the vent that goes down more than 1000 ft. into the rubble.  The rim all around is slumping into the growing hole.  This is how a formerly active volcano vent dies… with belches and burps of steam and ash and rocks.  The other formerly active vent, Pu’u O’o, also collapsed like this but on a much smaller scale with only one dying burp.

Meanwhile, 25 miles East and 3500 feet lower in elevation, the mountain is bleeding lava from the lower flank, flowing a river 7.8 miles to the sea and creating a new coastline.



Geologic change at a rapid pace.  It is awesome to watch… as long as you remember to get out of the way!  🙂

Courtesy Moi and USGS.

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Post by the Golden Rule. Oasis not responsible for content/accuracy of posts. DYODD.