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In Images: Hawaii's Mount Kilauea Erupts

Crater Collapse

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


Over the past several days, Hawaii's Mount Kilauea has been stunningly active.

The action began at the Halema`uma`u crater, where parts of the wall began to collapse into the lava lake below. Here, a large chunk of the rim collapsed into the Halema`uma`u lava lake on March 4.

Crater Collapse

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


Just moments after the collapse, a thick brown plume was seen rising from the crater.

Crater Collapse

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


The next day, the Pu`u `O `o crater got into the action. Incandescent rubble is seen rolling and sliding down on the edge of the collapsing crater on March 5. A remnant of the pre-collapse crater floor can be seen in the background below the crater's south wall. The east rim of Pu`u `O `o is in the foreground.

Crater Collapse

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


An ash cloud is seen rising from Pu`u `O `o as the crater floor collapsed due to magma withdrawal. Incandescent rubble can be seen crumbling.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


After the crater collapsed, a fissure vent opened nearby. A fissure is a split in a volcano that opens in a straight line.

Above, the view looking at the northeast end of the actively spreading fissure between Pu`u `O `o and Napau craters on March 5. Lava is just breaking the surface in the foreground crack.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


View toward the southwest of the fissure eruption. The fissure segment in the forest had shut down by this time on March 5.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


A close-up view of the fissure just west of Pu`u `O `o crater. Lava spatter was reaching heights of 130 feet (40 meters) tall on March 6.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


The eruptions ramped-up on a new fissure between the Pu`u `O `o Crater and Napau Crater.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


Lava pours from the fissure just after daybreak and cascades out of sight into a deep crack. A geologist from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gets an up-close look in the near upper right of the image.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


Lava spatters above the fissure just west of the base of the Pu`u `O `o crater.

Fissure Vent

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(Image credit: HVO/USGS.)


This fissure began in the early hours of March 6, erupting spatter and producing lava flows.