Kilauea, one of five shield volcanoes on the island of Hawaii, has been erupting continuously since 1983. Its eruption during the past month (March 2008) included the first explosive eruption at Kilauea since 1924. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory offers spectacular images:
Halemaumau crater, at the summit of Kilauea
Lava streams into the ocean, making the island of Hawaii just a little bit bigger.
A recent solidified cascade of lava over the old sea cliff.
Large skylight on a lava tube. The lava is flowing to the left, and small bubbles and other detail can be seen on the surface of the lava stream. The dark spots are bits of cooled lava crust being blown into the skylight by the helicopter.
An active aa flow covers a recent pahoehoe flow.
View of pahoehoe lava field.
The captions are modified from the HVO web site.
Pahoehoe and aa, of course, are my two favorite Hawaiian geological terms. Pahoehoe (puh-ho-ee-ho-ee) lava flows are smooth, and aa (ah-ah) lava flows have a sharp, jumbled surface. If you walk on an aa flow barefoot, you’ll say, “Ah! Ah!”
Grace and Peace