What's Going On With The Volcanoes?

Active lava lake within summit crater of Kīlauea volcano.
The active surface lava area continues to decrease in size and activity. Solidified lava crust covers 93% of the lake surface. (USGS Photo)

Notice to Visitors:

Since mid-April, a decrease in lava activity makes night viewing of the glow difficult to see. For the best experience, visit just before sunrise from vantage points like Wahinekapu (Steaming Bluff), Kīlauea Overlook, Keanakākoʻi, Kūpinaʻi Pali (Waldron Ledge) and other overlooks along Crater Rim Trail. Sunrise views of the caldera never fail to impress if views of the glow are faint before dawn.

From lava to water and back again. Learn about three remarkable changes in the past three years at Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

Current Conditions Courtesy of USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Friday, May 14, 2021, 7:53 AM HST

Map describing current activity of Kīlauea volcano. The map shows that the lava lake has filled 229 m (751 ft) of the crater, to an elevation of 746 m (2448 ft) asl since the eruption began on December 20, 2020.
Lava lake statistics through May 7, 2021 (Click for full size)

USGS Photo

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. This morning, May 14, the lava lake was 229 m (751 ft) deep and remains stagnant over its eastern half. SO2 emission rates remain elevated at 115 t/day, last measured on May 13.

Summit Observations: The most recent sulfur dioxide emission rate, measured on May 13, was 115 t/day, the lowest measured since the eruption started on December 20, and continues a trend of decreased emission rates that began in mid-April. This remains elevated compared to rates (less than 100 t/day) in the months before the summit lava lake eruption started, but is significantly lower than emission rates that averaged over 800 t/day from mid-February to mid-April. Summit tiltmeters recorded minor change over the past 24 hours. Seismicity remains stable, with elevated tremor.

East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity noted in the region. Geodetic monitors indicate that the summit and upper East Rift Zone—between the summit and Puʻuʻōʻō—is refilling at rates similar to those measured over the past 2 years and before the December 2020 eruption. SO2 and H2S emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7.

Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake Observations: Lava effusion from the west vent continues to supply the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater through a submerged inlet to the lake. Lava circulation and intermittent foundering of crust are confined to two small pools with occasional overflows, and lava has not oozed out along the perimeter of the lake over the past week. The total depth of the lake is 229 m (751 ft) this morning as measured by a continuous laser rangefinder on the active western portion. Stagnant and solidified lava crust covered 99% of the lake surface as measured by thermal mapping on May 13.

Recent SO2 emission rate measurements suggest that the effusion (eruption) rate has decreased significantly since mid-April. Other decreases in emissions during this eruption have occurred while summit tilt was decreasing, whereas the recent lows in emissions are independent of summit tilt. Drops in SO2 emissions are commonly related to decreases in lava supply, but other possibilities also exist. It is common for eruptions to wax and wane or pause completely. It is unclear if the current decrease in activity will continue and conditions around Halema‘uma‘u crater remain hazardous. HVO continues to monitor Kīlauea volcano closely for additional signs of changes in activity.

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/
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 at the summit remain slightly elevated and above long-term background levels. Other Mauna Loa monitoring data streams show no significant change in deformation rates or patterns that would indicate increased volcanic hazard at this time.

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

Last updated: May 14, 2021

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