Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory Geologist Sampling Lava

Geologists at Hawaiian Volcanoes Obseratory, (HVO), collect samples of lava from active flows to get information on temperature, gas content, and chemical composition of the lava. In this photo, a geologist braves extreme radiant heat to collect a sample from an 'a'a  flow. The photo on the bottom is a thermal image that shows the temperature gradient of the lava. The interior of the flow exceeds 1000 degrees celsius, (1800 degrees fahrenheit).
Photo: Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory

Thursday, June 3, 2010

High Lava Stand Within Halemaumau Vent

Here is a rare view into the eruptive vent on the floor of Halemaumau crater. This shot was taken during a, "high lava stand", that is, the lava has risen to a higher point than what is considered normal, or baseline. In this photo, the lava surface is within about 330 feet of the floor of Halemaumau, and the crustal plates on the surface of the lava lake are clearly visible. Note also, that the emissions from the vent are wispy and thin. Emission levels drop during high lava stands, then increase as the lava recedes.
Photo: USGS