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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Earthquakes Abound, Kīlauea Pressure Builds

3:02 AM · Apr 28, 2023

Kīlauea's weekly earthquake counts now exceed levels seen prior to the January 2023 eruption, with over 1,100 events during the past week and a half, including a M4.1 beneath Volcano Village on Saturday at 2:23pm. A seismically active week on Hawaiʻi Island also included a M4.2 deep beneath Pāhala on Wednesday at 4:30pm, a M3.9 deep between Maunaloa and Hualālai on Wednesday at 7:27pm, and six others greater than M3. None have had any visible effect on the island's volcanoes. Based on seismicity and continuing inflation visible in ground-tilt and GPS signals, magma continues to inject into Kīlauea's shallow system, maintaining the prognosis that further intrusion, resumption or a new eruption around the summit are still imminently possible. There is no sign of magma movement outside the summit, and no increased concern for local communities at this time. Gas emissions are the lowest registered in some time at 75 tons of SO2 per day, though these levels are still sufficient to create vog hazards for nearby communities. Some of this week's seismicity is associated with Maunaloa, though there are no significant changes in its shallow magma system and no cause for increased concern there. One cluster of earthquakes south of the 2022 eruption site on the Northeast Rift Zone may be a flank response to Kīlauea's swelling to the south, while deep beneath Maunaloa's summit another cluster is potentially tracing its volcanic roots. Finally, the M3.9 deep beneath Maunaloa's western flank falls into the settling category, where the volcanic pile weighs down on the lithosphere below, causing it to flex. As usual, our live presentation reviews the recent changes using monitoring data and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. We annotate the presentation on-screen, and discuss live viewer questions.


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