April 2015 – HAWAII – A lava lake on Hawaii’s Big Island is mere feet from overflowing. On Tuesday morning, the lava’s surface briefly reached the lake’s rim, the highest it’s been since the current eruption began in 2008. It has since returned to about 10 feet below the rim. “Magma is rising up into the lava lake from a magma chamber a mile or so beneath the summit of Kilauea volcano,” research geologist Matthew Patrick told The Huffington Post. According to Patrick, an overflow is a definite possibility because Kilauea has been consistently inflating for the past week, meaning that magma keeps flowing into the lake from an underground chamber below. In the event of an overflow, the lava would stay within Halemaumau Crater, the larger crater in the floor of which the lava lake sits, so it would pose no safety threat. But visitors to Volcanoes National Park would get quite a display.
Typically, the lava surface is 100 to 200 feet below the rim of the crater lake and therefore can’t be seen from the public viewing area around the volcano. Since the lava has risen, Patrick said, “its incandescent cracks and often vigorous spattering” can easily be seen from the overlook. An overflow would “likely provide an impressive scene for park visitors.” While this is a notable development in the current eruption, it’s not particularly unusual in the history of Kilauea, Patrick said. “In the 1800s and early 1900s, there was nearly continuous lava lake activity for about 100 years, and oftentimes that lava was spilling out of Halemaumau Crater,” he explained. As exciting as an overflow sounds, it is also possible Kilauea will abruptly deflate, Patrick said, bringing the lava’s surface back down to typical levels. –Huffington Post
Lava Lake overflows – explosions: (April 29, 2015) A lava lake at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has risen and now appears to be spilling out of the Overlook crater. The lava is overflowing onto the floor of the Halema’uma’u Crater. Thermal images from a webcam show how the lava is spilling out, with the red and yellow parts showing the hottest areas, volcanologist Rebecca Williams told IBTimes UK. The darker blue areas are cold and the magenta parts show where the laver is overflowing – it is cooler because it is thinner and flowing over the colder rock below, she added. The lava lake rose to its highest level several days ago and has been dangerously close to overflowing for a while. The molten pool first appeared in 2010 and normally is about 100ft below the rim of the Overlook crater. The USGS has yet to confirm it is overflowing.
However, earlier in April, it rose to just a few feet below the edge and authorities closed of the area to tourists. Yesterday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) released footage showing an explosion at the lava lake, where part of the crater wall collapsed. “This happens because lava is full of gas. That gas can bubble out at the surface gently, or sometimes, builds up and spurts out, causing the splatter that we’ve been seeing at the lava lake,” Williams said. –IB Times