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Lava lake reaches record height on highly active Hawaiian volcano

Tim Orr / USGS

The lava lake casts red light at Kīlauea's summit at sunset. The lake is about 138 ft below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu on Oct. 18.

By Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet  

 The steaming lava lake in a vent near the summit of Hawaii's Mount Kilauea recently hit its highest level since the vent opened in 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The record was reached Oct. 14, when the lava rose to within 150 to 165 feet of the top of the nearly vertical vent, the USGS said. The lava continues to fluctuate but has remained high over the past few days, said Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge of the HVO.

The vent is inside Halema'uma'u Crater atop Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes. The lava lake rises and falls as magma levels change within the volcano. Read the full story.

Tim Orr / USGS

A close up of the surface of the lava lake at Kīlauea's summit on Oct. 18. The lake is about 138 ft below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu.

Tim Orr / USGS

The lava lake in the 'overlook' vent in Halemaʻumaʻu reached to within 124.7 feet of the crater floor, filling the entire bottom of the vent on Oct. 19.

View more pictures of volcanoes on PhotoBlog:


The lava lake in the world's most active volcanoes, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is running high. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

View more pictures of the lava lake on the USGS website.