Kilauea Volcano



Hawaii is an archipelago located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean formed by a group of 19 islands and atolls, or large coral reefs. The islands and islets that make up the Hawaiian Archipelago are of volcanic origin and contain many of the largest volcanoes in the world. One of these is the Kilauea Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, which in fact, has been continuously active since the early eighties.

The latest volcanic eruption of Kilauea began on 03 May 2018 and remained active until 15 August. The volcanic activity was followed by a series of high-magnitude earthquakes which in turn caused further eruptions. The lava flow advanced rapidly, and the fountains of lava shot over 90 metres into the air.

The lava reached the sea on 4 June and destroyed the entire subdivision of Vacationland along the way. The lava also evaporated the water of the largest lake in Hawaii, Green Lake, located in the crater of the Kapoho volcano. On 7 August, the lava flow occupied 35 km2 of land and more than 3.5 km2 had been reclaimed from the sea.

Kilaueua volcano on May 23th 2018. On the left, band combination in natural color (4-3-2). On the right, band combination in false color (12-11-4). CC BY 4.0 Sentinel Hub EO Browser.

The volcanic eruption can be seen perfectly with the same combination of bands we used to detect the advancing line of forest fires. 11-12-4 (SWIR2, SWIR1 and red light). Despite the presence of smoke, ash and gas emitted in the volcanic activity, the image clearly identifies the flow of lava.

Kilaueua volcano before eruption on April 23th 2018 (left) and after eruption on October 26th 2018 (right). Satellite images Sentinel-1. CC BY 4.0 Sentinel Hub EO Browser.

On the other hand, these satellite images from the Sentinel-1 can accurately determine the advance of lava to the sea and quantify of the new land formation.

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