Hawaii Kīlauea Volcano Live Cams Show Glowing Lava As It Erupts

Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano is erupting—and cameras positioned near the crater are capturing remarkable images of the molten rock simmering inside.

The eruption began on Wednesday, when the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a glow in Kīlauea's summit at around 3:20 p.m. local time, or 9:20 p.m. ET, according to the United States Geological Survey.

This glow indicated an eruption within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The Kīlauea cameras can be accessed via the USGS website—and there are many to choose from.

Each camera provides a different view of the volcano. Some look down inside the crater in varying directions. Others peer at the volcano's summit from an observation tower. Some have a thermal vision mode, providing pictures regardless of the time of day.

The S1 cam, which shows the crater from its south rim, produced one of the clearest views of the volcano's eruption through yesterday.

It showed how the floor of the crater appeared inactive in the morning and for much of the afternoon, before spots of molten rock opened up, spewing smoke into the air in the mid-to-late afternoon.

By night-time, the crater was much more active, with the S1 pictures showing fiery pits of lava and dynamic, glowing veins.

The F1 cam, which provides thermal imaging, showed how the crater started off dark and relatively cool during the morning but its temperature had soared by the afternoon, with some areas displayed as white-hot.

A wider-angle image is provided by the KW cam, positioned off the west rim of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater and focused on the lava pool from a distance. It showed how smoke billowed out of the crater as it became more active through Wednesday.

Kīlauea has erupted a number of times in recent years, including in 2020.

The USGS has raised Kīlauea's alert level from "watch" to "warning," which means a hazardous eruption is imminent, underway or suspected.

The agency said high levels of volcanic gas were "the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects down-wind."

The USGS also raised the volcano's color code for aviation, from orange to red. This means eruption is imminent or underway with a likely significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere.

The volcano continues to be monitored by the agency.

Kīlauea is located in the southeastern part of Hawaii, with a summit around 4,090 feet high. It is renowned for what the USGS describes as "relatively benign eruptions of fluid lava flows"—though the summit has erupted explosively in the past. The eruption temperature of its lava is around 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Volcano lava
A summit lava leak at Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano on May 6, 2018. The USGS issued an alert after an eruption began on Wednesday afternoon. Getty / U.S. Geological Survey