floating islands in the lava lake / VolcanoDiscovery

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Mon, 11 Jan 2021, 07:48

07:48 AM | BY: MARTIN

The largest floating island in Halema‘uma‘u crater lake (image: HVO)

Red arrows show the floating islands in the lava lake at Kilauea volcano (image: HVO)

The effusive eruption of the volcano continues. The west vent continues to feed the growing lava lake that remains active and hasn’t shown big variations over the past days.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), a few floating islands formed in the lava lake. The largest island is about 250 m (820 ft) long, 135 m (440 ft) wide and 20 m (65 ft) tall. On 1 January the islands’ edges were about 6 m (20 ft) above the lava lake surface. On 4 Janury the whole island had risen by about 2 m (6-7 ft). The island has rotated and moved both eastward and westward since its formation on the first day of the eruption. On 6 January at about 22:30 local time the island stalled in rotation and movement.

Webcam imagery and eyewitness observations indicate that it formed through a combination of lava interacting with the lake water, early lava flows, and tephra erupted from the early highest fountains. Islands have been observed in Kīlauea lava lakes for more than 100 years. The apparent buoyancy changes of the island may be due to a density increase in the lava lake as gases escape or sloughing off of island material from the subsurface.

Source: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory volcano activity update 11 January 2021

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