Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Crater collapse triggers explosion on Kilauea volcano, Hawaii.

A portion of the rim of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater on Mount Kilauea, Hawaii, collapsed on Sunday 3 May 2015, triggering a dramatic, but harmless explosion. Halema‘uma‘u is a small crater located within the main caldera of Kilauea, which contains a lava lake. This lava lake has been at its highest levels since 2008 this month, actually overtopping the rim of the crater on Saturday 29 April, and in addition releasing a large amount of volcanic gas. This appears to have weakened the rocks around the rim of the crater, eventually leading to a partial collapse with rocks tumbling into the crater. The sudden impact of the rocks onto lava with a high dissolved gas content triggered an explosive release of gas, similar to a shaken fizzy drink bottle, throwing fragments of rock up to 85 m from the crater.

The 30 April 2015 Halema‘uma‘u Crater explosion. United States Geological Survey.

The islands of Hawaii have formed as a result of hotspot volcanism, with the hotspot currently located under Big Island, Hawai'i, and each of the other islands being the result of previous activity from the same hotspot, with the oldest Islands in the northwest and newest in the southeast. A volcanic hotspot is an area where magma from deep inside the Earth is welling up through the overlying plate (in this case the Pacific) to create volcanism at the surface. Volcanoes move as they erupt, swelling as magma enters their chambers from bellow, then shrinking as that magma is vented as lava.

See also...

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The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake at a depth of 16.8 km on te northern part of Big Island, Hawaii, slightly before...


The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake close to the surface on western Molokai Island, Hawaii, sllightly after...


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