What's Going On With the Volcano?

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1 minute, 24 seconds

Rock fall induced ash event on 5/9/2018. Video captured by Park Ranger Jessica Ferracane.


Current Conditions Courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Halema‘uma‘u viewed from Jaggar Museum on May 10, 2018
Halema‘uma‘u viewed from Jaggar Museum on May 10, 2018

NPS Photo / Janice Wei

Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 6:05 AM HST

Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone

Eruption of lava and ground cracking continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

The middle portion of the fissure system continues to produce the most robust eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone. The most active fissures have been 22,19, 6, 5, and 23. A faint glow was seen from Fissure 9, but no flows, and methane was observed burning in road cracks overnight. The ocean entry remains active and is producing occasional small explosions. Observers noted the height of the perched lava pond / channel had reached 11 meters / 36 feet above the ground level.

Lava is probably still entering the ocean. Although we can't get visual confirmation until after dawn, instrumental signals are consistent with continuing ocean entry activity.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from these fissure eruptions.

For recent maps of activity, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava are possible in the area. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Count of Hawaii Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days, and there were only a few earthquakes located today in the rift zone.

USGS/HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense, with geologists onsite to track ongoing and new fissure activity and the advance of lava flows.

Kīlauea Volcano Summit

Small ash emissions from the Overlook crater have been occurring frequently today. Moderate trade winds were blowing to the southwest and noticeable ashfall may happen in downwind locations.

Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

For forecasts of where ash would fall if such an explosion occur, please consult the Ash3D model output here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/activity_2018.html

Information on ash hazards and how to prepare for ashfall maybe found here: http://www.ivhhn.org/information#ash

Monday, May 21, 2018, 4:11 PM HST

Please see this new section of the HVO web site for information on the ongoing activity at Kilauea Volcano.


Moderate-level eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the northeast end of the active fissure system. Residents in lower Puna should remain informed and heed Hawaii County Civil Defense closures, warnings, and messages http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts.

Fissure 22 is erupting a short line of low lava fountains that feed a channelized flow that reaches the coast just north of MacKenzie State Park. Spattering continues from a reactivated Fissures 6 that intermittently feeds a short lava flow. Fissures 17 and 19 continue weak spattering.

HVO field crews are on site tracking the lava flow and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

For the most recent map showing the locations of activity, please see https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html. These maps are updated as often as possible but may not reflect the most recent changes.

Volcanic gas emissions have tripled as a result of the voluminous eruptions from Fissure 20 so SO2 concentrations are likely elevated to higher levels throughout the area downwind of the vents. Moderate trade winds today means that areas downwind of Kilauea gas emission sources may experience varying levels of vog. For forecast information, please see: http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/vmap/hysplit/.

For other information about vog, please see: https://vog.ivhhn.org/.

This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area.

Future outbreaks could occur both uprift (southwest) and downrift (northeast) of the existing fissures, or, existing fissures can be reactivated. Communities downslope of these fissures could be at risk from lava inundation. Activity can change rapidly.

Conditions around the erupting fissures can change very quickly. Residents in lower Puna should remain informed and heed Hawaii County Civil Defense closures, warnings, and messages http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts.


One explosive eruption of ash occurred at about 1 am this morning. Several smaller ash emissions have also taken place and produced abundant ash. Additional explosions possible at any time.

Seismic levels, which abruptly decreased after explosive eruptions on Saturday afternoon and Sunday noon, are again slowly increasing.

At this time, based on HVO web cameras, a robust plume of gas and steam is billowing out of the Overlook vent and drifting generally southwest.

At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very near the vent. Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues.

Resources on volcanic ash hazards and preparedness information: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_ash / OR http://www.ivhhn.org/ash-protection.

Resources on vog: https://vog.ivhhn.org/.

National Weather Service ashfall information and advisories: https://forecast.weather.gov/.

Seismicity and deformation continue at the Kilauea summit. Deflation is ongoing. Additional earthquakes in the Kilauea summit area are expected as long as the summit continues to deflate.

Current webcam views are here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html.


USGS/HVO continues to monitor the situation at the Kilauea summit and the lower East Rift Zone 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense and other emergency authorities. HVO geologists are onsite in the area this morning conducting overflights, examining the fissure vent activity for significant changes, and searching for any signs of new or resumed activity.

Please see this link for newly organized information about ash hazards, gas hazards, and the Lower East Rift Zone eruption. https://vog.ivhhn.org/

Hawaii County Civil Defense messages regarding conditions, warning, and evacuations may be found at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

Kīlauea East Rift Zone Fissures and Flows

Map Courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Map as of 11:00 a.m. HST, May 22. The flow field has not expanded significantly during the past day because most of erupted lava moved southward through the active lava channels and into the ocean. Note a new lava flow that was observed during this morning's overflight west of the active channels (see label). There was a single ocean entry this morning. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015.

Full resolution image (opens in new window)

Lava Lake in Halema‘uma‘u early morning on April 18, 2018
View of Halema‘uma‘u from the Jaggar Museum observation deck early in the morning on April 18, 2018

NPS Photo/Janice Wei

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23 seconds

Video of the lava lake activity in Halema‘uma‘u Crater on April 9, 2018. This is a zoomed video from the observation deck at Jaggar Museum, which is about a mile from the eruption site. Video by Volunteer Ranger Russell Atkinson.


Jaggar Museum Viewing Area on December 24, 2017
Viewing Halema‘uma‘u from Jaggar Museum on December 24, 2017 - This is the area to the right of the parking lot just beyond the bus parking stalls

NPS/Janice Wei

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3 minutes, 50 seconds

Ranger Shyla explains how visitors can stay "Lava Safe" on the world's most active volcano, Kīlauea,
by following these two simple rules:
1) Be Prepared.
2) Stay out of Closed Areas.
It's Simple!
Additional footage and photos courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Evening glow from Halema‘uma‘u on January 8, 2017
January 8, 2017 - Evening glow from Halema‘uma‘u viewed from the Jaggar Museum observation deck

NPS/J. Wei



HOT LINES for Eruption Information

Resources for more information about the lava flows:

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
by phone at: (808) 967-8862
by web at: https://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

County of Hawai'i Civil Defense
by phone at: (808) 935-0031 (7:45 am - 4:30 pm)
by web at: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/


May 1, 2018 - The County of Hawai‘i has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area at the end of Hwy 130 outside of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Photo Comparison - Drag the Arrows Left & Right
USGS overflight view of the episode 61G lava flow entering the ocean at Kamokuna on March 30, 2017 Thermal view
USGS overflight view of the episode 61G lava flow entering the ocean at Kamokuna on March 30, 2017
Thermal view - Photos courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - Following the December 31, 2016, lava delta collapse at Kīlauea Volcano's Kamokuna ocean entry, lava continued to flow into the sea without building a new lava delta, most likely because the lava was cascading down a steep offshore slope to deeper parts of the ocean. But in late March 2017, a new delta finally began to form, although it was obscured by steam during HVO's March 30 overflight (left photo). The thermal image at right shows lava streaming into the ocean from the leading edge of the delta (bright yellow area in center of image) and the adjacent heated seawater (discolored water in the photo). It also shows the trace of the active lava tube that carries lava from the vent to the sea (right side of image), as well as small breakouts of lava along the tube and surface flows near the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent (top of image).

Last updated: May 23, 2018

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