What's Going On With the Volcano?

 
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Duration:
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Eruption update of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō , Halema‘uma‘u and the East Rift Zone in lower Puna

 

 
Kīlauea Summit - Before & After
NASA image taken on January 14, 2003 USGS photo taken on August 7, 2018
NASA image taken on January 14, 2003
USGS photo taken on August 7, 2018
 Drag center circle/line left and right to reveal the before and after photos.



 

Current Conditions Courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

 
 
The New Look of Halema‘uma‘u on August 17, 2018
The New Look of Halema‘uma‘u on August 17, 2018

NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 11:55 AM HST

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Monitoring data over the past nine months have shown relatively low rates of seismicity, deformation, and sulfur dioxide emissions at the summit and East Rift Zone, including the area of the 2018 eruption.

As of March 26, Kīlauea Volcano is at NORMAL/GREEN. For definitions of USGS Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/about_alerts.html

Despite this classification, Kīlauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to a return to eruption, the time frame of warning may be short. Island of Hawaiʻi residents should be familiar with the long-term hazard map for Kīlauea Volcano (https://pubs.usgs.gov/mf/1992/2193/) and should stay informed about Kīlauea activity.

Observations: Monitoring data have revealed no significant changes in volcanic activity over the past week. Generally low seismicity continues across the volcano, with earthquakes occurring primarily in the summit and south flank regions. The largest Kīlauea earthquake over the past week was a M2.9 event near Keanakākoʻi Crater on May 11, at a depth of 3.1 km (1.9 miles) below ground level. USGS received 6 felt-reports following this event.

Since early March, tiltmeters at the Kīlauea summit have recorded modest inflationary tilt. Over about the same time period, a GPS station within the 2018 collapse area has recorded approximately 5 cm (3 inches) of uplift. Satellite radar data (InSAR) show deformation consistent with inflation of the shallow Halemaʻumaʻu source, confirming the trends noted by both tiltmeters and GPS. One possible interpretation is that magma has begun to slowly accumulate within the shallow portion of the Kīlauea summit magma system, 1-2 km or approximately 1 mile below ground level. However, gas measurements have yet to indicate significant shallowing of large volumes of melt. HVO continues to carefully monitor gas output at the Kīlauea summit and East Rift Zone for important changes.

Further east, GPS stations and tiltmeters continue to show motions consistent with refilling of the deep East Rift Zone magmatic reservoir in the broad region between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130. This trend has been observed since the end of the 2018 eruption, and while its significance is unclear, monitoring data do not suggest any imminent change in volcanic hazard for this area.

Hazards remain in the lower East Rift Zone eruption area and at the Kīlauea summit. Residents and visitors near the 2018 fissures, lava flows, and summit collapse area should heed Hawaii County Civil Defense and National Park warnings. Hawaii County Civil Defense advises that lava flows and features created by the 2018 eruption are primarily on private property and persons are asked to be respectful and not enter or park on private property.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of increased activity at Kīlauea. HVO maintains visual surveillance of the volcano with web cameras and occasional field visits. HVO will continue to issue a weekly update (every Tuesday) until further notice, and will issue additional messages as warranted by changing activity.

 
 
Kīlauea Summit Fault Lines Map
Kīlauea Summit Fault Lines Map

NPS GISS, Mark Wasser, David Benitez

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East Rift Zone map

Map Courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

February 19, 2019 - Kīlauea 2018 lower East Rift Zone lava flow thicknesses: a PRELIMINARY MAP

Data depicted on this preliminary map of Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone lava flow thicknesses are subject to change. A final map will be released when all remote sensing data have been collected and processed. Lava flows erupted from fissures 1-24 in 2018, which buried an area of about 35.5 sq km (13.7 sq mi) and added about 875 acres of new land to the island, vary in thickness across the flow field. The greatest thickness on land, at fissure 22, is approximately 55 m (180 ft), and the greatest thickness in the lava delta (new land created where lava entered the ocean) is approximately 280 m (919 ft). These values could change when data are finalized.

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Kīlauea Summit - Then and Now
Kīlauea summit on November 28, 2008 Kīlauea summit on August 1, 2018
Kīlauea summit on November 28, 2008 Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Kīlauea summit on August 1, 2018 Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Then and now. It has proven difficult to exactly match past and present views of Kīlauea's summit to show the dramatic changes in the volcanic landscape, but here's our latest attempt. At left is a photo taken on November 28, 2008, with a distinct gas plume rising from the vent that had opened within Halema‘uma‘u about eight months earlier. At right is a photo taken on August 1, 2018, to approximate the 2008 view for comparison.



 
View of the southern edge of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater

Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

June 19, 2018 - View of the southern edge of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater (middle right) during helicopter-assisted work at Kīlauea's summit. The once-popular parking lot (closed since 2008) that provided access to Halema‘uma‘u is no longer--the parking lot fell into the crater this past week as more and more of the Kīlauea Crater floor slides into Halema‘uma‘u. The Crater Rim Drive road (middle) now ends at Halema‘uma‘u instead of the parking lot. The view is toward the west-northwest.

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During the helicopter overflight on June 18, crews captured this image of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater viewed to the southeast

Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

June 18, 2018 - During the helicopter overflight on June 18, crews captured this image of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater viewed to the southeast. With HVO and Jagger Museum sitting on the caldera rim (right side, middle where the road bends to the left) it is easier to comprehend the scale of subsidence at the summit. The estimated total volume loss is about 260 million cubic meters as of June 15th.

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Kīlauea summit on June 12, 2018
Halema‘uma‘u aerial view on June 12, 2018

Photo courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

June 12, 2018 - Events at the summit of Kīlauea over the past few weeks have dramatically reshaped Halema‘uma‘u, shown here in this aerial view, which looks west across the crater. The obvious flat surface (photo center) is the former Halema‘uma‘u crater floor, which has subsided at least 100 m (about 300 ft) during the past couple weeks. Ground cracks circumferential to the crater rim can be seen cutting across the parking lot (left) for the former Halema‘uma‘u visitor overlook (closed since 2008). The deepest part of Halema‘uma‘u (foreground) is now about 300 m (1,000 ft) below the crater rim. The Halema‘uma‘u crater rim and walls continue to slump inward and downward with ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea's summit.

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Duration:
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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.
Please note the lava lake dropped on May 2, 2018 and the crater began collapsing soon after.

 

 

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/

 

Last updated: May 15, 2019

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