Kilauea: Biggest Eruption Since 2018

Guest “geology” by David Middleton

The world’s most active volcano is at it again…

The water lake that had formed in Halema‘uma‘u crater after the 2018 eruption is now a lava lake.

Eruption Boils Away Kilauea Water Lake, Forming New Lava Lake

by Big Island Video News
on Dec 21, 2020

(BIVN) – The Sunday evening eruption of Kīlauea – the first eruptive activity at the volcano in over two years – has already erased the growing summit water lake and is replacing it with a new lava lake at the base of the crater.

The eruption started suddenly at approximately 9:30 p.m. HST during a brief earthquake swarm at the summit. Scientists say multiple fissures opened on the walls of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The lava cascaded into the summit water lake, boiling off the water and forming a new lava lake at the base of the crater.

The activity is contained within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea caldera, scientists say. One of the fountains within the crater was 165 feet tall.


Big Island Video News
Shortly after approximately 9:30 p.m. HST, an eruption commenced at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Red spots are the approximate locations of fissure vents feeding lava flowing into the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater. The water lake at the base of Halema‘uma‘u crater has been replaced with a growing lava lake. Lava coverage is deeper by 10 m (32 ft) or larger and bigger in extent than the water in this photo (base map is from imagery collected on September 23, 2020). The easternmost vent is currently exhibiting fountains up to approximately 50 m (164 ft) high with minor fountaining on the west side. Occasion blasts of uncertain origin are occurring from lava lake surface. USGS photo.” (BIVN)
A steam and gas plume from the eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater at Kīlauea summit. Lava contained within the crater illuminates the steam produced by the lava interacting with, and boiling off, the summit water lake that resided in the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. USGS photo.” (BIVN)
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December 21, 2020 6:07 pm

Is this volcano anywhere near Mauna Loa (apologies if the spelling is inaccurate) which is where CO2 concentrations, and other climate-related “stuff” gets measured? If so, what would be the impact on measurements? Anyone like to speculate?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  David Middleton
December 21, 2020 8:32 pm

They only measure CO2 emitted by automobiles and coal fired power plants.

Bryan A
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 21, 2020 11:21 pm

That’s because only CO2 emitted by power generation and transportation is Bad CO2. All other forms of CO2 is Good CO2

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
December 22, 2020 8:21 am

The only measure CO2 when the wind is coming off the oceans. They don’t take measurements when the wind is coming off the volcanoe.
Not everything is a conspiracy.

Reply to  MarkW
December 22, 2020 8:27 pm

I looked at the procedures about 2009 and found no reason to doubt the accuracy of the CO2 record from Mauna Loa Observatory.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  OldCynic
December 22, 2020 3:41 pm

Atmospheric CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa – and other sites – are well documented.
November 2020: 412.89 ppm
November 2019: 410.25 ppm

A main site is:

How they measure is here:

The issue raised by OldCynic is a common comment on this and similar sites. The issue is worth reading about.  

John in Oz
December 21, 2020 6:35 pm

Is the conjunction of large planets just a coincidence?

John in Oz
Reply to  David Middleton
December 21, 2020 7:55 pm

But don’t the planets, although distant, exert some gravitational effect on the Earth, as does the moon?

Being in line would maximise their gravitational effects (wouldn’t it?).

Reply to  John in Oz
December 21, 2020 8:07 pm

Yes, but maximizing the very, very tiny yields, in this case, very tiny.

Ron Long
Reply to  Old.George
December 22, 2020 1:45 am

Exactly, Old George. Remember, in the gravity formula the total of the masses is divided by r squared, where r is the distance between center of masses. This produces a very small number, so planets/volcanism not associated.

Reply to  John in Oz
December 22, 2020 8:24 am

Yes they do exert a gravitational effect, however they effect the entire planet equally.

Reply to  MarkW
December 22, 2020 5:01 pm

What are the phenomena in the oceans of Earth we call tides? Where do they come from?

Javert Chip
Reply to  MarkW
December 22, 2020 5:19 pm

Actually, it effects the planets’ hemisphere facing the “conjunction” a wee bit more than the away-facing hemisphere. Then the whole thing spins around every 24 hours (give or take).

By far, the most noticeable impact of this conjunction is bunches of loons somewhere have strapped on loin-cloths and danced around a big ‘ole fire. After everybody got all sweaty & dusty, they got drunk/high on whatever, just like they pretend their ancestors did.

It’s at exactly this point that loons discovered aliens built the pyramids, dug the Grand Canyon, built Atlantis, constructed Stonehenge, crashed spaceships into Area-51, and continue, to this very day, to abduct human subjects from the territory currently known as Alabama for full-body cavity-searches.

ps: given the size of the visible universe, there are probably about 1,000,000 significant cosmic occurrence every earth day. Maybe more..

Reply to  Javert Chip
December 24, 2020 10:02 am

You know, those “loons somewhere strapping on loin-cloths and dancing around a big ‘ole fire.” probably have less impact on our lives than those loons in gov’t and on twitter. I think I’d prefer the dancing. 🙂

Reply to  John in Oz
December 22, 2020 8:23 am

There have been many eruptions when there weren’t conjunctions.
There have been many conjunctions when there weren’t eruptions.

Reply to  MarkW
December 22, 2020 10:11 am

Well put.

Greg in NZ
December 21, 2020 6:49 pm

Mt Ruapehu was put on Alert Level 2 yesterday (our summer solstice) after the crater lake warmed up to 43*C and the mountain began rumbling & quaking…

The active volcano is on the same faultline system as White Island (recently erupted killing tourists) and part of the Taupo caldera zone in the centre of the North Island.

As a bonus, there’s snow on the way for the South Island peaks – a hoot listening to ‘hot experts’ attempting to explain away a snowy White Christmas in the middle of summer downunder!

Reply to  Greg in NZ
December 22, 2020 1:29 am

As an aside have you been watching the temperatures at Alice Springs? 17 deg yesterday. Very strange hot summer.

Loren C. Wilson
December 21, 2020 7:21 pm

This is one of the most monitored volcanoes on the planet, and they were still unaware that it was going to erupt. I hope the rift zone is well-plugged. The remaining people living there don’t need to evacuate at Christmas.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
December 21, 2020 7:46 pm

From base to summit, the volcanoes that make up the Big Island complex have the world’s tallest mountain comlex.
“Mauna Kea’s summit is at 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) above sea level, but it extends about 19,700 feet (6000 meters) below the water’s surface. Therefore, its total height is 33,500 feet (10,210 meters), nearly a mile taller than Mount Everest, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).” source:

The mid-Pacific hot spot in the mantle seems to be a much different heat flow structure than the mantle heat flow to the crust under Iceland (rift zone) or a continental plate like that under Yellowstone’s super-volcano where the distance to mantle is greater. Hawaii is of course not on the “Ring of Fire.” The Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by almost 20,000 ft Pacific Ocean floors.
In those other areas, deep chamber fillings and the rising heat give low-frequency rambles as plastic layers fracture and swell. There’s no rift zone (like Iceland on the mid-Atlantic Rift) in Hawaii of course nor is there a complex super magma chamber structure feeding closer chambers like is under continental plate volcanic regions Yellowstone). Hawaii is in fact the tallest free-standing vertical structure in the world rising from the Pacific floor 20,000 feet
The result being the typical seismic low-frequency deep chamber filling warning signs of rumblings are not there for Hawaii’s current active volcano.

Joel O'Bryan
December 21, 2020 7:27 pm

The Ring of Fire is also overdue for 9.0+ quake.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 22, 2020 3:52 pm

There is the Cascadia Subduction under the coast of Washington State. Event time unknown. But 9.0+ is possible.
Those in Ocean Shores, Ocean Park/Long Beach or similar ought to move.

Jeff Alberts
December 21, 2020 8:00 pm

The image with the circles looks like “The Scream”.

December 21, 2020 9:15 pm

This eruption is all because Australia didn’t sacrifice enough at the altar of global warming wokeness.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Hivemind
December 21, 2020 9:37 pm

Send more virgins to Hunter Biden.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 22, 2020 10:57 am

I’m sure that Hunter prefers more ‘experienced’ women.

Bill T
December 22, 2020 2:58 am

Back in the early 1980s, it first erupted and my wife and I were there at the military camp by the volcano. Took us in a bus that evening. There was a layer of clouds so saw the lower part of the eruption, went through the layer and there was a giant plume of fire coming up through the clouds. Never forget it.

December 22, 2020 3:40 am

The Gods are angry.

December 22, 2020 4:42 am

be fun if it manages to fill the caldera and overflow

Keith Rowe
December 22, 2020 6:15 am

Likely the growing ocean mount Lōʻihi somehow is closed off and now the lava doesn’t have it’s usual place to go so up through the next vent. Will get itself sorted out, but if it takes a long time it will be a spectacular show.

Reply to  Keith Rowe
December 22, 2020 10:22 am

Far more likely is that the MASS of the whole mountain complex is ever – so – slowly sinking under its weight an the plasticity of the hot basaltic rock underneath. The net result though is that the rising magma is under not just ‘enomous pressure’ nominally, but even higher than just the mass of the column pressure. Hence it squirt out under pressure. That and as it rises, the body-pressure decreases, allowing dissolved gasses to return to a semi-solvated condition, lowering the density of the magma, again … allowing it to fountain, just as one observes in these mafic/basaltic eruptions. Quietly.

December 22, 2020 8:06 am

“Since 2018” really?

In other news, in my area December 22 is the warmest day since December 19.

Ed Bo
Reply to  TonyG
December 22, 2020 11:12 am

But in climatespeak that qualifies as “unprecedented”!

Clyde Spencer
December 22, 2020 11:15 am
Bruce of Newcastle
December 22, 2020 1:16 pm

I’d say Kilauea is only second most active volcano after Etna, which has been erupting continuously and copiously for decades. Stromboli is also continuously erupting, as is Yasur in Vanuatu, but you can’t beat Etna and Kilauea for lava production.

December 24, 2020 9:42 am

Looking a those twitter feeds reminds me just how illiterate that mob landscape is. Sigh…

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