Explosive event at Halemaumau ejects unique, hollow Pele’s Tear


A rockfall on the east rim of the summit vent within Kīlauea Volcano’s Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered a small explosive event at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. Explosive events like this occur more frequently when the lava lake level is relatively high, as it has been this past week—around 30-35 m (100-115 ft) below the vent rim. Rocks in the vent wall expand as they are heated by the high temperature of the lava lake and become unstable. Sections of these unstable rocks can then collapse into the lava lake. Rockfalls and subsequent explosive events occur with no warning, and the resulting fragments of hot lava and rocky debris thrown onto the crater rim pose a significant hazard in this area. Video courtesy of USGS/HVO

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