In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halemaumau, a crater at the summit of Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The eruption continues today, with continuous degassing, occasional explosive events, and an active, circulating lava lake.
Because of volcanic hazards associated with Kilauea’s summit vent, the area around Halemaumau was closed to the public by the National Park Service in early 2008 and remains closed. The hazards include high levels of sulfur dioxide gas and explosive ejection of molten lava and solid rock fragments onto the crater rim, which could cause serious injury (or worse) to anyone venturing into the closed area.
The summit eruption can, however, be safely viewed from vantage points on the rim of Kilauea…