Hawaii Volcano Image Shows Boiling Water Lake That's Deeper Than Ten Story Building

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park have released a spectacular image showing a scorching hot water lake inside a massive crater that is deep enough to fit a 10 story building inside.

The growing lake is located inside the Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea—one of the world's most active volcanoes on Hawaii's Big Island.

While the lake looks relatively small within the vast summit crater, it is currently around 150 feet deep, while measuring 430 feet wide and 885 feet long, the National Park Service said.

In total, the lake contains around 125 million gallons of water and is gradually growing larger by the day as groundwater seeps into it.

The lake first appeared in the summer of 2019, around a year after the Halemaʻumaʻu crater collapsed by almost 1,600 feet as magma drained away from Kīlauea's summit during a broader eruption.

This collapse meant that the bottom of the crater fell below the water table. Since then, water has gradually been seeping into the crater floor.

The event marked the first time in recorded history that a water lake had appeared in the caldera—a massive depression or crater formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself after an eruption—that makes up Kīlauea's summit.

Scientists estimate that the lake could eventually reach a depth of around 230 feet as it equalizes with the surrounding water table.

Halemaʻumaʻu crater, Kīlauea
Image showing the lake in Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea. USGS/M. Patrick

The lake is notable for being scorching hot, with researchers recording maximum water temperatures of around 176–185 degrees Fahrenheit. Around the world, there are only a handful of other volcanic lakes with temperatures greater than 176 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Park Service said.

The body of water is also intriguing from a geological standpoint for being only mildly acidic. In fact, the lake has a pH of 4.2, which is roughly equivalent to many fruit juices. This is unusual because most volcanic lake tend to be either extremely acidic or alkaline, with very low or high pH levels.

Soon after forming, the lake was bright-blue in color. But since then it has turned from turquoise to yellow, and now brown. This is likely due to iron-sulfate minerals and sulfur dioxide dissolving into the water. The lake's color can even change within a single day.

Kīlauea rises around 4,190 feet above sea level making up around 14 percent of the Big Island's total land area. The volcano stopped erupting in 2018. Before this, it had erupted on a continuous basis since 1983.

Correction 10/09 3.27 a.m. ET: This article previously said Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. It stopped erupting in 2018.