But Halema’uma’u’s story didn’t end there. Water started to collect at the bottom of the crater a year later, and today, it’s a lake at least 100 feet deep taking up an area larger than five football fields, according to the NASA Earth Observatory press release. Basically, the crater has now dipped far below the water table, or the upper limit where groundwater saturates the earth. That water has now started to fill the open pit.


This new lake could spell bad news for future Kilauea eruptions. The volcano more typically erupts explosively. If water dissolves into the magma, it could cause the build up of steam, an increase in pressure, and perhaps a more dramatic and potentially dangerous release of lava.

Volcanologists will continue to study Kilauea in order to understand what its future eruptions might be like.