Kīlauea Volcano Photo by USGS
In this edition of Science Picture of the Week, we look at Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano. This image was taken on January 31, 2013 in Kīlauea showing a small lava lake, which has been present on the northeast side of the crater floor for nearly a year.
Kīlauea is a shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii. It has slowly changed into a tiny pond several meters above the surrounding crater floor. Lava from the tiny lava pond flows directly into a tube on its north side. In this photo, the tube starts at the left edge of the pond and heads toward the heavy fume at the left edge of the photo.
This photo (captured fortuitously as the USGS says), shows a lava flow seconds after it burst from the side of a low tumulus. A tumulus is created when the upward pressure of slow-moving molten lava within a flow swells or pushes the overlying crust upward. While initially relatively fast-moving, the flow slowed to a crawl within a few minutes.