Dramatic geologic events in recent days at Kīlauea volcano in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park have produced what park officials are describing at "spectacular" evening views of the current eruption.
On August 3, scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory monitored a rapid deflation of the crater floor and lava lake at Kīlauea volcano’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater. By 3:15 p.m. that afternoon the crater floor collapsed and lava flowed out of its west flank.
The new activity prompted a 24-hour closure of the Chain of Craters Road in the park, but the route reopened at 4 p.m. Thursday. Park rangers are stationed near sea level at the bottom of Chain of Craters Road, at Pu‘u Huluhulu and at Jaggar Museum to inform visitors of the latest conditions and best viewing opportunities.
According to a park spokesperson, "Visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are able to view dramatic glows from the new Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption from several vantage points within the park, including Pu‘u Huluhulu, the Jaggar Museum overlook, and from the bottom of Chain of Craters Road."
“For the more adventurous, a short mile-and-a-half round-trip hike to Pu‘u Huluhulu puts you in the line of site of the vent and new lava flows off the west flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō ‘ō,” said Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno. “And, weather permitting, the glow is apparent after sunset as the daylight obscures any redness. Visitors can also drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road and look up and see the glow,” he said.
Chief of Interpretation Jim Gale posted a short video of the recent activity to the park’s website; it can be viewed at this link.
In addition, Kīlauea’s summit eruption at Halema‘uma‘u crater continues, and visitors can often hear the roar from rocks exploding off crater walls, and can observe a beautiful red glow after nightfall. Rangers reported that the new incandescence from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is also visible from the Jaggar Museum overlook.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, conditions permitting. Updates on the eruptions are available by calling (808) 985-6000.
While visitors were enjoying the new lava activity, a six-person fire crew was hard at work containing a wildfire ignited by lava on the southern end of the flow, approximately one acre in size. Another fire on the north end of the flow continues to burn, and is being monitored by fire officials.