A UAS (Unoccupied Aircraft Systems) mission on June 24, 2018, filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kilauea’s summit since explosive eruptions of ash and gas and ongoing wall collapse began in mid-May.
Clearly visible are the steep crater walls that continue to slump inward and downward with ongoing subsidence at Kilauea’s summit.
The deepest part of Halema‘uma‘u is now over 1300 feet below the caldera floor.
There are two obvious flat surfaces within the crater that have slumped downward as nearly intact blocks – the shallower one is the former caldera floor and the deeper one is the former Halema‘uma‘u crater floor.
Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission and coordination with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
The overflights collect visual information on what is happening at this rapidly changing eruption site.
Scientists examine the footage in detail to understand how the expanding collapse area is evolving, the extent of tephra fall, and other surface changes.
This information is used to assess hazards at Kilauea’s summit , which are shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.
Video by the U.S. Geological Survey and Office of Aviation Services, Department of the Interior, with support from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.