group logo
Public group
Volcano, Storm, and News Updates for the Big Island of Hawaii.

Short Increase In Eruption Rate On Kilauea, Update From USGS-HVO

1:03 AM · Nov 24, 2021

Activity Summary:  Kīlauea volcano is erupting from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. As of this morning, November 23, 2021, all lava activity is confined within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Seismic activity and volcanic gas emission rates remain elevated. Summit Observations: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain elevated, with an emission rate for November 22, 2021, of approximately 6000 tonnes per day, recorded during a short-lived increase in lava effusion. The average SO2 emission rate for recent weeks is approximately 3000 t/d. Summit tiltmeters overall recorded weak deflation over the past day. Seismicity remains stable. Earthquake activity remains below background and volcanic tremor remains elevated since the beginning of the eruption. Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava continues to erupt from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater, while the eastern edge of the lake continues to advance onto the lowest of the exposed down-dropped caldera floor blocks. An increase in lava effusion yesterday lasted for a few hours and has now returned to levels consistent with recent activity. The western end of the lake showed a maximum elevation of approximately 805.5 meters (2642 ft) above sea level by HVO’s permanent laser rangefinder this morning, and a total increase of about 60 meters (197 ft) since lava emerged on September 29. Webcams show spatter and ponded lava within the west vent, an area of active lava at the surface of the lava lake, and sporadic oozes of lava along the cooler outer lake margins. The total erupted volume since the beginning of the eruption was estimated to be about 30 million cubic meters (7.8 billion gallons) on November 16. East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted in the Kīlauea East Rift Zone. Low rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along the rift zones. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021. Hazard Analysis: This new eruption at Kīlauea’s summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects down-wind. Large amounts of volcanic gas—primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)—are continuously released during eruptions of Kīlauea Volcano. As SO2 is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create the visible haze known as vog (volcanic smog) that has been observed downwind of Kīlauea. Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock. For more information on gas hazards at the summit of Kīlauea, please see: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20173017. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/.  Additional hazards include Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from the lava fountains that will fall downwind of the fissure vents and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the vent (s). Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation.  Other significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of Kīlauea caldera rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008. 

Suggested