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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Pause At 1 Month, Tsunami Awareness

3:01 AM · Apr 7, 2023

Since Kīlauea's eruptive pause began on March 7, the volcano has been quaking more frequently and swelling around its summit, which has continued this past week. Gas emissions remain low but still of concern to nearby communities, while there is no sign of magma movement in the rift zones and no cause for additional concern to people. A resumption or new summit eruption could happen quickly, yet there are still no imminent indications of any change. One interesting detail is that distances measured by GPS are now increasing both across the caldera at the summit and to a lesser extent across the upper middle East Rift Zone near Puʻuʻōʻō, but for different reasons. At the summit, GPS stations are also rising vertically and accompanied by earthquakes, while on the upper rift zone, the pattern is the opposite. This suggests magma is collecting beneath the summit region, pushing blocks of Kīlauea's south flank as its volume expands, and leading to south flank adjustments near the upper rift zone, which itself does not show the signals associated with magma accumulation. Thus, everything is still consistent with activity continuing in due course at Kīlauea’s summit. Maunaloa continues to be seismically quiet while gradually continuing to inflate, although this week the inflation rate has slowed considerably. Variations are to be expected as part of the post-eruptive recharge that is typical of the volcano's past eruptions. Overall, still little change on Maunaloa and there is no cause for increased concern there as well. April marks Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaiʻi, so we review the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis as well as this weeks Volcano Watch by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Both resulted in 35-feet run-ups in downtown Hilo, and casualties of 159 and 61 people in Hawaiʻi. As usual, our live presentation reviews the recent changes using webcam timelapses, monitoring data and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, annotated on-screen, and we discuss live viewer questions.

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