What's Going on With the Volcano?
September 3, 2014
The eruption of Kīlauea volcano continues from two locations. In the park, the summit eruption of Kīlauea within Halema'uma'u Crater continues to offer the best, safest, and easiest eruption viewing. The second location originates from the Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent in the remote east rift zone. This area is highly unstable and dangerous and is not accessible by the public, (see "East Rift Zone Vents" below). No lava is currently flowing into or towards the ocean.
Fumes and glow from the summit vent – resulting from a lava lake deep within Halema'uma'u Crater – may be seen from the overlook at Jaggar Museum in the national park, and other vantage points along the Kīlauea caldera rim that provide views of Halema'uma'u Crater.
During the day a robust plume of volcanic gas is a constant and dramatic reminder of the molten rock churning in a lava lake within the crater. After sunset, Halema'uma'u continues to thrill visitors and park staff with a vivid glow that illuminates the clouds and plume as it billows into the night sky (weather permitting).
Park rangers are on duty at the Jaggar Museum to assist the many visitors drawn to Halema'uma'u, which has been erupting consistently within the crater since March 2008.
Halemaʻumaʻu web cam (opens in new window).
East rift zone vents: Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea's East Rift Zone as of September 1, 2014. The area of the flow as mapped on August 29 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of September 1 is shown in red. The only place where lava significantly widened the margin was at the distal end of the flow, where lava in the forest had reached 12.6 km (7.8 miles) from the vent. Most lava at the far end of the flow, however, was cascading into a deep ground crack (brown line), which was steaming at the surface. The most distant steam, which may represent the leading end of the lava in the crack, was 12.9 km (7.9 miles) from the vent and 1.7 km (1.1 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line within the flow marks the lava tube.
Please note: the current surface flows are outside the national park in a remote, unstable area that is closed to the public.
Currently there is no lava visible from the County of Hawai‘i Kalapana lava viewing area, however, there are reports that glow from the flows above are sometimes visible from this location.
The Kalapana public viewing area is outside of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the other side of the flow fields and is managed by Hawaiʻi County. There is no fee to enter the viewing area. Currently the viewing area is open daily from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the last vehicle allowed in at 8:00 p.m. To hear a recorded message of updated viewing conditions, call 808-961-8093.
Map to the Kalapana public viewing area (pdf-469KB)
County of Hawai'i Press Release - Kalapana Lava Viewing Area Remains Free - Feb 12,2013 (pdf-169KB)
The lava lakes in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and Halemaʻumaʻu crater, as well as other views may be viewed on webcameras made available by the scientists at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Daily updates by staff that monitor Hawaiʻi's volcanoes provide visitors with the most recent observations on volcanic conditions.
If you are interested in more information about the Kīlauea east rift zone, we invite you to watch the video cast of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Mike Poland from our After Dark in the Park presentation on August 23, 2011. Mike discusses the volcanic history of the area. It's one hour in length and can be viewed here
Did You Know?
The young fronds of the `ama`u fern (Sadleria cyatheoides) often emerge red to block harmful rays from the sun. They gradually turn green with age.