What's Going On With The Volcanoes?

Current Conditions Courtesy of USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 9:05 AM HST

Map detailing the location of the 2020 summit eruption within the caldera of Kīlauea
USGS map of the current lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu, in comparison to the former water lake and 2008-2018 lava lake. (Click to view full size)
Current Volcano Alert Level: Watch/Orange
Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is erupting. Lava activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu with lava erupting from a vent on the northwest side of the crater. Field measurements as of February 23 indicate the lava in the western (active) portion of the lake in Halema‘uma‘u is 215 m (708 ft) deep. Webcams show intermittent crustal foundering. The eastern portion of the lava lake has a stagnant and solidified surface crust. SO2 emission rates remain elevated; measurements on February 23 were 800 t/day.

Summit Observations: The most recent sulfur dioxide emission rate measurements from February 23 are about 800 t/d — this rate is lower than the emission rates from the pre-2018 lava lake (around 5,000 t/d). The summit tiltmeters show the inflationary trend of the recent DI event started after midnight on the morning of February 23. Seismicity remains stable, with elevated tremor and two minor earthquakes.

East Rift Zone Observations: Geodetic monitors indicate that the upper portion of the East Rift Zone (between the summit and Puʻu ʻŌʻō) contracted while the summit deflated at the onset of this eruption, but is currently stable. There is no seismic or deformation data to indicate that additional magma is currently moving into either of Kīlauea’s rift zones. SO2 and H2S emissions from Puʻu ʻŌʻō were below instrumental detection levels when measured on January 7.

Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava from the west vent continues to supply the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater.

The active western half of the lava lake was approximately 215 m (708 ft) deep as measured by field crews in the afternoon of February 23, 2021. The decrease in lava lake depth coincides with the recent deflationary part of a DI event.

Observations yesterday afternoon indicated lava effusion continues at the western fissure. The lava rapidly develops a thin crust while flowing outwards towards the east with occasional crustal foundering between the vent and main island, but not beyond the island. A thin surface crust has started forming small pieces of the spatter cone that have been in the lake and are very close to the vent.

Stagnant (i.e. solidified) lake crust covers the eastern half of the lake and is slowly growing westward around the main island. The position and dimensions of the main island and smaller islands have not changed due to the solidified crust. Some minor talus debris is accumulating on the lava surface around one or two of the islands as their edges cool, crack, and begin to crumble.

For more up-to-date monitoring information on Kīlauea: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/status.html

Hazardous volcanic gases are billowing out the crater and present a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women. For more information on air quality, visit: https://www.hawaiiso2network.com/
Annotated thermal photograph of a lava lake in a volcanic crater, with one side partially solidified
Annotated thermal image of the molten lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu crater as it appeared on February 1, 2020. Note: this image was captured by scientists studying the eruption and this view is not available from publicly accessible areas. (USGS Photo/M. Patrick.
Web cam image of an erupting volcanic crater, with pooling lava in the bottom


Get a live look inside the park, courtesy of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Park visitors watching a volcanic eruption from an overlook with a stone wall

Ranger Tips For A Successful Visit

A new eruption at the summit of Kīlauea is drawing large numbers of visitors. Plan ahead so you can stay safe and enjoy your visit.

Erupting volcanic crater glowing at night

2020-2021 Summit Eruption

Photos and media from the eruption that began on December 20, 2020

From lava to water and back again. Learn about three remarkable changes in the past three years at Halemaʻumaʻu crater on the summit of Kīlauea.
Full moon over Mauna Loa volcano
Full moon over Mauna Loa (NPS Photo/J. Wei)

Mauna Loa
Current Volcano Alert Level: Advisory/Yellow
Activity Summary: Mauna Loa Volcano is not erupting. Rates of deformation and seismicity have not changed significantly over the past week and remain above long-term background levels.

For more current monitoring info about Mauna Loa, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna_loa/status.html

Learn about some of the previous eruptions of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa

Last updated: February 24, 2021

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