Kilauea volcano update: Quiet at the surface, rumblings underground

Wed, 16 Jun 2021, 04:26
04:26 AM | BY: PO
This Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) photo, looking straight down into the inactive western fissure within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea, was captured on Thursday, June 3, 2021. One of the objectives of the UAS mission was to get a close-up look into the fissure to see if any incandescent lava was still visible. As evidenced by the darkness within the opening atop the fissure (center of frame), no active lava was observed. For scale, the height and width of this photo each span approximately 40 m (131 ft) laterally. (USGS image & caption.)
This Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) photo, looking straight down into the inactive western fissure within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea, was captured on Thursday, June 3, 2021. One of the objectives of the UAS mission was to get a close-up look into the fissure to see if any incandescent lava was still visible. As evidenced by the darkness within the opening atop the fissure (center of frame), no active lava was observed. For scale, the height and width of this photo each span approximately 40 m (131 ft) laterally. (USGS image & caption.)
A third week of relative quiet passes on Kīlauea, though earthquakes remain slightly elevated near the volcano's summit, upper east rift, and nearby south flank. No glow is visible from the recent eruption's West Vent, nor from the crusted lava lake surface, though temperatures from the vent and a handful of small spots “around the rim and in local cavities” remain hotter than their surroundings, though still well below molten lava temperatures according to this week's USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory update.

The baseline ground tilt continues to slowly increase as it has over the past month, occasionally interrupted by less frequent deflation-inflation cycles, with one event in each of the past two weeks. The summit continues to swell based on the GPS cross-caldera distance measurement, also at a slightly increased rate for the past two weeks, and together with the ongoing seismicity intensely focused in the summit and upper east rift connector, indicates that magma is still building underground.

The upper east rift between Maunaulu and Puʻuʻōʻō, still within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, is also refilling with magma according to USGS-HVO monitoring data and reports, and does show some seismicity within the rift zone during the past week, but much less focused than in areas up-rift. Instead, there are earthquakes dispersed across the nearby south flank, suggesting that growing pressure in that part of the rift is pushing the mobile flank and distributes the seismicity across its wider base as a consequence. On the south flank, a magnitude 3.7 earthquake on June 12th occurred in the same area as the magnitudes 3.6, 3.4 and 4.2 on May 23rd, a seeming catch point at the western edge of the currently mobile area.

This pattern of adjustment is not imminently alarming, as the volcano can sustain slightly elevated activity for weeks to months before a larger change occurs, including the possibility of an eruption near the summit or currently active rift areas. The current level of seismicity is approaching that observed in the months ahead of the 2020 eruption, though it is still roughly half of the rate of the final pre-eruption weeks. The wait and watch continues, as the transition to Kīlauea's next lava showing slowly advances.

#Kilauea2021


Join our weekly live video review of Kīlauea's eruption! Broadcast at 5pm HST Thursdays as of June 2021 and archived, along with short video updates, on the Hawaiʻi PODD channel - including monitoring signals, photos & videos, time-lapses, geologic context and annotation, and discussion of live viewer questions.


Source: Compilation and summary of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory activity updates & online data, June 2021

Previous news

Wed, 26 May 2021, 22:04
During an eruption monitoring shift on May 25, HVO field crews did not observe any active surface lava or incandescent areas within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. (USGS photo by K. Mulliken.)
Excerpt from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's May 26, 2021 Daily Update: ... Read all
Mon, 24 May 2021, 06:54
Distribution of earthquakes beneath Kilauea volcano including the latest M 4.2 event as red arrow shows (image: HVO)
The seismic network of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a volcano-tectonic earthquake with magnitude M 4.2 at 7,5 km depth beneath the southern flank of the volcano yesterday at 11:41 local time. The earthquake was centered about 15 km (9 miles) south of Volcano, under the Hilina Pali area of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. ... Read all
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