On Sunday afternoon, part of the Halema'uma'u Crater wall collapsed into the lava lake, creating a beautiful explosion. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/USGS

Last week, we showed you what happens when a rock falls into a lava lake. But that only raises the question, what happens when more rocks fall into a lava lake? Kilauea is here to sate your curiosity.

The Hawaiian volcano, whose lava flows disrupted the life of a town just a few months ago, is now capturing attention for its lava spurting out in a different location–its summit. In the middle of Halema’uma’u Crater, a lava lake has been steadily rising since April 22, spilling out onto the crater floor last week.

That’s exciting enough, but on Sunday, part of the crater wall managed a perfect slam dunk into the lava lake, throwing fist sized globs of lava 280 feet in the air and creating an impressive plume of ash. Check out the gallery above for pictures of the explosion and lava lake.


Lava Lake

A view of the lava lake itself, as seen from above.

Crater Explained

This annotated picture provided by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shows some of the place names. The Halema’uma’u Crater is located at the summit of the Kilauea volcano. Inside the crater is Overlook Crater, where the overflowing lava lake is located.


On Sunday afternoon, part of the Halema’uma’u Crater wall collapsed into the lava lake, creating a beautiful explosion.


Cameras trained on the overflowing lava lake managed to catch all the action, as you can see in this series covering about six seconds.

Lava Lake

An overview photo taken on April 30 showing the whole crater, with the lava lake towards the right edge of the picture. The black layer on the floor of the crater is lava that was spilled out onto the surface as the lake overflowed.

Live Lava Lake

A frame from the webcam of the lava lake as it looked early this morning. The glow of the lava is visible even at night.