It requires a certain set of guts to chopper into the smoking caldera of an erupting volcano. These geologists are up to the task.
The Halema`uma`u crater floor in this video is located within a larger caldera that is part of the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii.
On the morning of June 7, fresh vents opened up and flooded the crater with lava. By the time the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists arrived, the liquid lava had cooled enough to a solid but was still “hot to the touch,” the US Geological Survey described in the YouTube caption.
In the distance, you can see fountains of red-hot lava continuing to erupt to the surface of the massive lava lake:
But fountains of red-hot lava and a giant lava lake didn’t deter these scientists.
They collect samples within inches of the pile of newly-cooled lava. No big deal when it’s all in the name of science:
These samples will help the scientists better understand the eruptive history of Hawaii’s Kilauea — the big island’s most active volcano.
This is important since this volcano has a rather turbulent history alternating “between effusive periods (producing lava flows) and explosive periods (producing tephra such as ash),” Big Island Video News reported.
Before returning the samples to the aircraft, one scientist dowsed them with what appears to be water to cool them even more.
Here’s an even closer look at some of those samples:
An aerial shot from the chopper shows a glimpse of just how massive the lava lake is as the scientists fly away to analyze their prize.
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