The past year has seen fluctuating lava lakes, ephemeral lava fountains, craggy spires, and drifting “islands” reminiscent of pre-1924 Halemaʻumaʻu activity at the summit of Kilauea. The recent activity has USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists reflecting on prior observations and how they compare to recent activity.
Kilauea volcano’s summit eruption persisted for a fifth day Sunday with lava continuing to erupt from multiple vents within Halema‘uma‘u crater.
Kilauea volcano is erupting again. Wednesday afternoon, lava returned to Kilauea’s summit within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park after a 4-month hiatus. A new line of fissures sliced through the solidified crust of the 2020–21 lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u at 3:21 p.m. HST.
The eruption within Halema’uma’u crater, at Kilauea volcano’s summit within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park continued Thursday morning.
Hawaii Volcano Observatory’s scientist in charge said Tuesday progress is being made toward its new facilities.
The Pacific is home to dozens of active volcanic systems including the massive Hawaiian shield volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Most basaltic shield volcanoes in the Pacific are related to the hotspots that created the Hawaiian Islands and many of the Polynesian and Micronesian island chains.
Most residents of the Island of Hawaii live on one of four potentially active volcanoes and probably have wondered about the threat of lava flows at one time or another. Interestingly, determining future threats relies on knowledge of the past. The long-term likelihood of an area being invaded by lava in the future, is estimated in two different ways based on the history of lava flow activity.
Large quantities of volcanic gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), are released into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions. But even between eruptions, smaller amounts of the same gases continue to escape and can provide important clues about the current state of the volcano and the underlying magma. But to measure them, you first must identify where gas is coming from.
We know that when a volcano erupts, molten red rock makes it to the surface, while during an intrusion it doesn’t. The difference between the two processes, if we depend on seismicity (earth shaking) or deformation (changes in ground surface) instrumentation, is not obvious. The events during the start of either are identical. But we can’t be certain that an intrusion will lead to an eruption.
Late Monday afternoon, earthquake activity picked up at Kilauea’s summit. At about 1:30 a.m. HST on Tuesday, that activity intensified, and it became clear that seismicity and increasing deformation were indicating a new intrusion of magma. The seismicity extended southward from Halema‘uma‘u crater, to an area south of the Kilauea caldera.
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Friday morning that earthquake activity and ground deformation has resumed beneath the southern part of Kilauea summit caldera within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.