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Smiley Face on Kilauea Volcano Captured by Helicopter

Aug 03, 2016 11:31 PM EDT

An erupting volcano in Hawaii made news recently due to the odd smiley face visible from its crater while it is spewing lava and smoke.

Dubbed as the "Smiling volcano", Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is currently erupting and reports say that it has been going on since 1983, one of the longest activity in history. Helicopters were able to capture the image of a smiley face on the crater of the volcano made up of lava and other materials.

This is not the typical scene a person can expect when looking at an erupting volcano, that is why tourists flock the volcano to witness the extraordinary formation to be able to see the smiling face of the volcano.

Images of the smiling Kilauea volcano is circulating on the Internet mainly because of this extraordinary occurrence, a happy representation of what is potentially dangerous natural activity.

Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions with the help of Paradise Helicopters captured the video, according to CNET. The companies specialize in tour packages that offer the most scenic views in Hawaii and apparently, the weirdest, too.

But there's an explanation as to why the volcano seems too happy to erupt. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The smiley face appeared on the west part of the Pu'u 'O'o on the volcano's east rift zone.

Experts also explained that the smiley face is composed of bright spots and "incandescent" lines that typically occur in a normal volcanic event. The movement of molten lava and the upwelling and downwelling of the lake causes the phenomenon. The bright spots peek from the dark colored, semi-molten lava. The only thing unusual about this is that the gap or opening seen from the semi-molten lava happens to be that similar of an emoji of a smiling face.

"The Pu'u 'O'o lava lake just happened to produce two spattering sources (bright dots) that have been interpreted as 'eyes' and an incandescent line that has been interpreted as a 'mouth' - with the two lake surface features located relative to each other to produce the iconic symbol of a smiley face," Janet Babb, a geologist with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in an interview with Live Science.

The helicopter passed by at the exact time the smiley face formed capturing the amazing view of and the now popular "smiling volcano."


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