HONOLULU As the high-definition camera pans across the surface of an active Hawaii volcano’s viscous summit lava lake, a large bubble of volcanic gas grows and bursts, dramatically spewing molten rock into the air and sending a massive ripple of lava outward across the crater.
Federal officials released high-definition video of the lava lake atop Hawaii’son Tuesday, providing a rare close-up glimpse of the powerful summit eruption, shot in stunning 4K ultra high definition video.
The U.S. Geological Survey footage shows lava breaking through the crusted mantle of the lava lake on the Big Island and splashing up the crater walls. Aerial footage shows lava glowing through the cracks of the slightly hardened crust atop the flowing and bubbling lava.
USGS video producer Stephen Wessells is seen on the edge of the volcano’s massive summit wearing a respirator and hardhat as he captures the images.
The summit eruption has been happening since March 2008.
Kilauea has an extensive history of eruptions. While most of Kilauea’s activity has been nonexplosive, a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton rocks into the sky and left a man dead.
A vent adjacent to the summit known as Puu Oo recently erupted and sent lava trickling down the mountainside and into the Pacific Ocean for the first time in several years.
A 1983 Puu Oo eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high. In the decades since, the lava flow has buried 48 square miles of land and destroyed many homes.
In 2008, after a series of small earthquakes rattled the island, Kilauea’s summit crater opened and gushed lava and rock over 75 acres of the mountain, damaging a nearby visitor overlook.