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Red Glow inside Kilauea Volcano's Summit

Red Glow inside Kilauea Volcano's Summit

C003/2736

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Credit

STEPHEN & DONNA O'MEARA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEPHEN & DONNA O'MEARA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Kilauea is the youngest volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii and the most active volcano on Earth. The newest eruption of Kilauea began in January 1983 and continues to this day. On March 13, 2008, a new gas vent opened in the eastern wall of Halemaumau, the volcano's summit crater and home to Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. The event elevated the amount of sulfur dioxide erupting from the crater. Typically the emission rate has been between 150 to 200 tons/day. The March event increased that level up to 2,000 tons/day -- the highest ever recorded since monitoring began in 1979. Molten rock near the surface also caused the escaping gases to glow. This photo shows the first time red glow has been seen in Halemaumau in more than a quarter of a century. The last time occurred during a brief summit eruption in April/May 1982.

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