Lava lake in Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea volcano reaches record level

Scott Sutherland
Hawaiian Lava Lake Hits New Record High
The lava lake in Halemau'ma'u crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano on Jan. 10, 2013.

Hawaii's Mount Kilauea volcano is restless this week. According to the US Geologic Survey, the lake of molten lava at its summit rose to a record height of 25 metres below the Halema'uma'u Crater floor and caused a portion of the crater floor to collapse into it.

Kilauea, considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world, has been continuously erupting along its eastern flank for the past 30 years, ever since the vent called Pu'u 'O'o started spewing lava back on January 3rd, 1983. This constant flow, which has been traced back directly to the Earth's mantle, has been relieving the pressure from the vent leading to the summit's lava lake, and likely preventing a more massive explosion from the volcano's main crater. However, recent reports have been telling of increased activity at Pu'u 'O'o, as well.

[ Related: Volcano's 30-year eruption bursting with discoveries ]

It's uncertain if this heightened unrest is pointing towards something bigger, but Kilauea's alert status remains as a Watch — indicating that it "is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain" or "eruption is underway but poses limited hazards" — which it has been under for quite some time.