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Awesome Videos Show Collapse Into Lava Lake!

March 5, 2011

Click on the image to watch the video! There was a series of vent wall and rim collapses on March 3, much like those than occurred in January and February. This video, compiled from the Webcam on the rim of Halema`uma`u above the vent, is one of the larger collapses, and shows the northwest rim of the vent falling into the lava lake. (USGS)

This video, also compiled from the Webcam on the rim of Halema`uma`u, shows the north rim of the vent collapsing. (USGS)

This clip, captured by a video camera on the rim of Halema`uma`u to the southwest of the vent, shows a small slice of the western rim of the vent collapsing into the lava lake and includes sound. (USGS)

Booming sounds from the vent in Halema`uma`u have been audible around the summit area of Kilauea for the past several days. Some of these sounds are caused by rocks striking the surface of the lava lake, but most are actually the sound of the vent walls cracking due to heating and expansion of rock. This video, from February 25, illustrates what this sounds like. Occasionally, these sharp reports and booms can be visually correlated to rocks exploding off the vent wall and showering fragments down onto the surface of the lava lake. (USGS)

The level of the lava lake sometimes changes abruptly. These cycles of rise and fall, which amount to a vertical change of around 15 m (about 50 ft), are occasionally triggered by rockfalls. Here, a small collapse from the vent wall triggers degassing and a drop in the lava level. (USGS)

As the spattering shown in the previous video intensifies, the walls of the vent heat even more, causing the cracking of the rocks through thermal expansion to speed up, creating the cacophony of popping noises apparent in this video. (USGS)