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Kilauea volcano
Shield volcano 1277 m (4,190 ft)
Hawai'i, 19.41°N / -155.29°W
Current status: restless (2 out of 5)
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Kilauea volcano eruptions:
Near-continuous eruptions. Since 1960: 1961 (4x), 1962, 1963 (2x), 1965 (2x), 1967-68, 1968 (2x), 1969, 1969-74, 1971 (2x), 1973 (2x), 1974 (3x), 1975, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982 (2x), 1983-2018 (ongoing, incl. 1986, 1992, 1997, 2007, 2011 (3x)), 2018 (lower east rift zone in Leilani subdivision)
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Dominantly effusive since 1790, but ~60% explosive over past ~2500 years.
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Volcano news & updates: Kilauea volcano (Big Island, Hawaii)

Kilauea volcano update: Kilauea summit caldera: continued slumping of Halema’uma’u crater and recurring magnitude 5 earthquakes

Saturday Jun 09, 2018 07:44 AM | IS

This image taken on a mid-day overflight on June 5 shows the ongoing partial collapse of Haleama’uam’u crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano. To the north of the old overlook parking area (left in the image) is the site of the former lava lake – now a deep hole piled with wall-rock rubble. The western portion of Haleamu’uma’u (upper part of image) has moved down and toward the centre of the crater as new cracks form on the caldera floor to the west. The summit is still subsiding due to withdrawal of magma towards the east rift zone. (HVO/USGS)
This image taken on a mid-day overflight on June 5 shows the ongoing partial collapse of Haleama’uam’u crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano. To the north of the old overlook parking area (left in the image) is the site of the former lava lake – now a deep hole piled with wall-rock rubble. The western portion of Haleamu’uma’u (upper part of image) has moved down and toward the centre of the crater as new cracks form on the caldera floor to the west. The summit is still subsiding due to withdrawal of magma towards the east rift zone. (HVO/USGS)
These images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and June 6, 2018. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are clear. The last image, on June 6, shows the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u and inward slumping of a large portion of the western and southwestern crater rim. The west side of Halema‘uma‘u is clearly unstable, and it is likely that rockfalls and continued slumping will occur in the future. (HVO/USGS)
These images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and June 6, 2018. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are clear. The last image, on June 6, shows the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u and inward slumping of a large portion of the western and southwestern crater rim. The west side of Halema‘uma‘u is clearly unstable, and it is likely that rockfalls and continued slumping will occur in the future. (HVO/USGS)
This diagram showing the depth and size of earthquakes that occurred at Kilauea over the past week clearly reflects a seismic cycle where increasing seismicity culminates in a ca. Magnitude 5 earthquake every 1,5 to 2 days. (http://webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Kilauea)
This diagram showing the depth and size of earthquakes that occurred at Kilauea over the past week clearly reflects a seismic cycle where increasing seismicity culminates in a ca. Magnitude 5 earthquake every 1,5 to 2 days. (http://webcams.volcanodiscovery.com/Kilauea)
The median between two areas of the Halema’uma’u parking lot has been warped and broken by cracks. Ash accumulation in the parking area was generally not more than 4 cm (1.5 in) thick. (HVO/USGS)
The median between two areas of the Halema’uma’u parking lot has been warped and broken by cracks. Ash accumulation in the parking area was generally not more than 4 cm (1.5 in) thick. (HVO/USGS)
Subsidence of Kilauea’s summit keeps going on as magma continues to be drained from the summit area towards the active fissure eruption site in the lower East Rift Zone. As much as 9900 earthquakes have been registered on Kilauea over the past 30 days, most of which occurred at the volcano’s summit. These events have led to dramatic changes in and around Halema’uma’a crater which for the past 10 years contained an active lava lake. Since the start of the lower East Rift Zone eruption, this lava lake has been systematically drained – leaving behind a large empty vent with unstable walls that partially collapse, creating explosions with large ash plumes. Continuous deflation of the whole summit area and its accompanying earthquakes in turn also destabilise the walls of the Halema’uma’u vent and surrounding crater, resulting in widening of the vent and partial collapse of the crater as its west side is slumping inwards due to the formation of large cracks on the Kilauea caldera floor.
Over the past week a cycle emerged in the seismicity monitored at Kilauea’s summit area, where increasingly larger and more frequent earthquakes culminated in a magnitude 5 earthquake. These earthquakes are usually accompanied by an explosion and ash cloud from Halema’uma’u crater and followed by a short period of less earthquakes before seismicity picks up again, building towards the next larger earthquake and explosion. The last two of these larger earthquakes were a M5.6 earthquake on Wednesday afternoon 6 June at 16h07 and a M5.2 earthquake on early Friday morning 8 June at 02h44. In each case there was also a small explosion at Halema’uma’u crater creating an ash plume that rose up to about 3050 meters (10,000 feet). Each time summit seismicity dropped significantly right after the earthquake and explosion, but then picked up again a few hours later and gradually increased until the next larger event.
On June 5, 2018, a HVO scientist who has been studying the changes of Kilauea’s summit caldera for decades briefly visited the parking area for the former Halema‘uma‘u overlook (closed since the re-appearance of a lava lake in 2008) to make direct observations of and gather data from the effects of recent explosions within Halema‘uma‘u. HVO reports that the parking lot is strewn with small ballistic blocks, most of them only a few centimetres across but some larger blocks reaching up to 45 cm (18 inches) in diameter. Many of these larger blocks appeared to be in depressions in the ash, but upon closer examination, it was concluded that wind had winnowed ash from around the blocks, creating a false impression that the depressions were made by impact. Apart from ballistic blocks and an ash layer up to 4 cm (1,5 inch) thick, the Halema‘uma‘u parking lot is sliced into blocks by cracks which were first noted in a very early stage on May 13 but are now dominant. These cracks are circumferential to Halema‘uma‘u and warp and offset the pavement and curbing of the parking lot. Cracks have varying sizes, an average one for example shows 42 cm (16.5 in) of right lateral offset—as measured by fitting the center stripe on the road back together—and was about 25 cm (10 in) wide. (HVO/USGS)
Sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano's summit, while lower than those recorded in early-mid May, remain high enough to impact air quality in downwind regions. Additional bursts of gas released with intermittent explosive activity are also transported downwind and may temporarily affect air quality as well. (HVO/USGS)
Previous news
Friday, Jun 08, 2018
Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington (VAAC) issued the following report: ... [more]
Thursday, Jun 07, 2018
Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington (VAAC) issued the following report: ... [more]
Lava fountaining and active flow to the NE from fissure #8 at Kilauea's lower east rift zone this morning (night in Hawaii)
Thursday, Jun 07, 2018
The activity in the lower east rift zone continues with no significant changes. After a brief episode of declining output of magma from fissure #8 and the contemporary reactivation and lava effusion from a number of other fissures, activity shifted back to fissure #8 which has been the main vent of the rift eruption over the past week. ... [more]
Thursday, Jun 07, 2018
Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington (VAAC) issued the following report: ... [more]
Lava flows and fissures map as of 10:00 a.m. HST, June 5, 2018. Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015. (HVO/USGS)
Wednesday, Jun 06, 2018
In the Lower East Rift Zone lava effusion persists from fissure 8 which continues to feed a channel transporting lava eastward to the ocean entry in the Kapoho Bay area. HVO's Tuesday 5 June mid-day overflight showed that this flow has completely filled Kapoho Bay and formed a lava delta extending about 1.3 kilometre (0.8 miles) out from the former coastline. Meanwhile the outbreak of this flow that started to wrap around the western side of Kapoho cinder cone has completely encircled it, re-joined the wide Kapoho Bay lava flow channel but travelled south of it where it now creates a second ocean entry in the Vacationland tidepools area. The destruction of the Kapoho Bay and Vacationland neighbourhoods and beautiful recreational areas is immense as almost all of it got covered by the fissure 8 lava flow over the past 2 days. Whatever remains is still under threat as the wide fissure 8 lava flow is also still spreading sideways ... [more]

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