New video shows spectacular lava lake In this July 2016 image taken from video provided by the United States Geological Survey, the lava lake atop Kilauea volcano erupts on Hawaii’s Big Island. Federal officials released new high definition video of the lava lake atop the active volcano on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, providing a rare close-up glimpse of the powerful summit eruption. (United States Geological Survey via AP)
New video shows spectacular lava lake
Lexile

As the high-definition camera pans across the surface of an active Hawaii volcano's viscous summit lava lake, a large bubble of volcanic gas grows and bursts, dramatically spewing molten rock into the air and sending a massive ripple of lava outward across the crater.
 
Federal officials have released high-definition video of the lava lake atop Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, providing a rare close-up glimpse of the powerful summit eruption, shot in stunning 4K ultra high definition video.
 
The U.S. Geological Survey footage shows lava breaking through the crusted mantle of the lava lake on the Big Island and splashing up the crater walls. Aerial footage shows lava glowing through the cracks of the slightly hardened crust atop the flowing and bubbling lava.
 
USGS video producer Stephen Wessells, geologist Janet Babb and other scientists worked along the edge of the volcano's massive summit wearing gas masks and other protective gear to capture the images. At times, they were only a few hundred feet away from the lava lake.
 
"It was the greatest shooting experience of my life," said Wessells, who has been producing video for USGS since 1990. "It was just spectacular."
 
The summit eruption has been happening since March 2008, which is when federal officials closed the area to the public.
 
Babb told The Associated Press that the area is full of hazards. Gasses from the volcano, which can swirl around in the strong trade winds on the summit, "can be life-threatening," said Babb. Additionally, "rocks from the vent wall will fall apart and fall into the lava lake and when they do there's a big gas release, this big kind of bubble burst, and it will hurl fragments of molten lava...up onto the crater rim."
 
The team was reminded of this danger when a filming location was covered in hot spatter just a week after they were there.
 
"It was a very sobering moment," Babb said.
 
Kilauea has an extensive history of eruptions. While most of Kilauea's activity has been nonexplosive, a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton rocks into the sky and left a man dead.
 
A vent adjacent to the summit, known as Puu Oo, recently erupted and sent lava trickling down the mountainside and into the Pacific Ocean for the first time in several years.
 
A 1983 Puu Oo eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high. In the decades since, the lava flow has buried 48 square miles of land and destroyed many homes.
 
In 2008, after a series of small earthquakes rattled the island, Kilauea's summit crater opened and gushed lava and rock over 75 acres of the mountain, damaging a nearby visitor overlook.
 
The video just released is the highest resolution footage the agency has ever captured of the lava lake, and will be included in a longer documentary about the history of the volcano around the 10th anniversary of the current eruption in 2018.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did the videographer need to wear a gas mask?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (9)
  • kaileew-ste
    10/13/2016 - 01:58 p.m.

    Officials have released a video of a lava lake in a volcano in Hawaii. Stephen Wesslles was the one to capture the amazing moment. Wessells has been producing videos for USGS since 1990.

  • piersonw-cel
    10/14/2016 - 10:23 a.m.

    HD video was released by federal officials of the lava lake on top Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, providing a rare close-up picture of the huge summit eruption, shot in 4K ultra HD video. The summit eruption has been happening since March 2008, which is when federal officials closed the area to the public. The footage will be included in a documentary about the eruption in 2018, the 10 year anniversary.

  • zakrym-ste
    10/14/2016 - 10:50 a.m.

    i wonder how hot this lake would be. i bet it would burn my skin. id probably dissintegrate.

  • monicas-ste
    10/14/2016 - 01:41 p.m.

    This is so cool. I can't believe how awesome this looks. It's so dangerous.

  • peytonw-cel
    10/17/2016 - 10:15 a.m.

    Because there are gasses that are very dangerous to breathe in. These gas mask are protective. These areas are very hazardous. Gasses from the volcano, which can swirl around in the strong trade winds on the summit can be life threatening. Rocks from the vent wall will fall apart and fall into the lava lake and when they do there's a big gas release, this big kind of bubble burst, and it will hurl fragments of molten lava...up onto the crater rim.

  • irisp-ste
    10/17/2016 - 04:02 p.m.

    The videographer was required to wear a gas mask because the hot lava and even it's steam would have brought the person harm being that close to it. If they were unaware of the substances the volcano released, it would have been best to wear a gas mask to be safe.

  • lbryant5-sam
    10/25/2016 - 12:46 p.m.

    They wore gas masks because the gases that came from the volcano were life threatening.

  • noahr-ste
    10/25/2016 - 12:49 p.m.

    When you get close to a lava lake it is very hot and there are lots of fumes, gases and smoke. Therefore you need to wear a gas mask to stay safe from the conditions.

  • lukem1-lam
    10/28/2016 - 10:45 a.m.

    I think that this would be so interesting to see. At the same time though it would be so dangerous, with the lava and all of the gasses.

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