Halemaumau lava lake bubbling up?

Mardie Lane
Mardie Lane

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KILAUEA (KHNL) - Madam Pele's cooking up quite a show, with a cauldron of molten lava, churning within Kilauea's summit.

The most spectacular summer show may be from the Big Island volcano. Lava, close to the crater rim, has scientists watching.

This latest activity also leaves many wondering - will the lava come bubbling up from the crater?

It may appear that way, but park rangers say right now, the molten lava is not bubbling up to the surface.

Still, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed off access to the summit vent, just to be safe. As history tells us, you can't underestimate the power and mystery of Kilauea.

Swirling, churning, bubbling, and brewing - a rare look directly below the surface of Halemaumau crater reveals the first active lava lake seen in years.

And park rangers say it's creating the biggest and brightest glow at the volcano's summit since October of 2008.

"Not only is it a sight to behold, but at times, when you're at Jagger museum, the earth shudders. We actually hear the gas bubbles burst and the rock fall into the lava lake," said Mardie Lane, a park ranger.

What makes this latest activity different, is that after years of oozing lava from its side, Kilauea is now spewing from the top.

Scientists say the molten lava is about 300 feet below the crater floor. The vent is expanding. The question is, will it stay there, or bubble over?

While no lava has boiled over yet, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park already considers this an eruption.

"I think what people might be waiting for is that at some point, would we imagine that lava would actually rise that extra 300 feet and begin to puddle and pool onto the floor of Halemaumau crater? That remains a possibility," said Lane.

If or when that happens remains a part of the mystery behind Madam Pele, whose home ranks among the most active volcanoes in the world.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24/7. Sunday night was a unique night to check out the lava lake from Jagger Museum.

A full moon lit up the sky, while Pele lit up the land.