Watch a wild lava 'dome fountain' gush at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano

It's like a bubbler from Hades.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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A lava dome fountain blurbled in the Halema'uma'u crater at the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in early January 2021.

USGS video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Late in 2020, Hawaii's famous Kilauea volcano started acting up again and the eruption created a lava lake inside the volcano's Halema'uma'u crater. The United States Geological Survey has now shared an incredible video of a lava dome fountain that formed in the lava lake.

"Lava from the western vent cascades beneath roofed vertical channels to enter the lava lake at an inlet that has become partially submerged," the USGS said on Tuesday. "The result is a rolling upwelling of lava near the inlet called a 'dome fountain.'" 

The footage is from Jan. 2 and Jan. 3. The lava feature gets its name from its resemblance to a bubbling water fountain, but this is one liquid you would want to stay far away from. USGS estimated the fountain at about 16 feet (5 meters) in height and 33 feet (10 meters) wide.

Kilauea erupted fiercely in 2018, destroying buildings and forcing evacuations. 

According to a USGS update on Tuesday, the lava activity at Kilauea is currently confined to the crater. The lava lake is estimated to be 627 feet (191 meters) in depth. The crater had been filled with water prior to the recent eruption. 

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The USGS is monitoring Kilauea for gas levels, rockfalls, explosions and volcanic glass particles. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains open and the National Park Service has issued guidelines for safely viewing the eruption, which includes staying on marked trails and within designated overlook areas.

For those of us unable to visit, the USGS offers of a variety of webcam views of the volcano, including a look into the Halema'uma'u crater. It's hard to beat the vantage point of the USGS dome fountain video, which is as close to the fiery action as you'd want to get.