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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Eruption Coalesces, Feeds Lava Lake

3:03 AM · Sep 15, 2023

After four full days of eruption, Kīlauea continues to pump out lava from three main vents on the caldera's inner down-dropped block, as well as to inject magma into the crusted lava lake from below. The western part of the inner crater floor, uncovered by lava, has risen around 30 feet or 10 meters as a result, while the eastern part continues to drowned in lava, further burying the innermost eastern crater rim. Originally 0.8 miles or 1.4 kilometers long, the fissure line has become inactive at either end. Lava fountains, which initiated roughly 160 feet or 50 meters high, reduced within a day to about 50 feet or 15 meters, then again to roughly 30 feet or 10 meters as is typical today. Spatter cones built up around each vent, with the longest-lasting vents growing the largest, reaching 66 feet or 20 meters in height, while lava flows nearby have coalesced into a perched pond that sits 15 feet or 3 meters above the surrounding ground. Gas emissions spiked at the eruption onset around 190,000 tonnes of SO2 per day, but in successive days have dropped to 49,000, then 30,000, and yesterday 20,000 tonnes, still extremely high values for downwind communities. The decrease is expected to continue exponentially, but is still of major concern at this time. Individuals with respiratory issues in these areas should continue to take suitable precautions during this time. Earthquake rates have dramatically slowed since the eruption onset, while ground deformation signals reflect the sagging of the volcano as lava is extruded to the surface. Maunaloa continues to show no significant change from the expected pattern following its 2022 eruption, refilling its large magma reservoirs and issuing sporadic deep earthquakes from its feeder conduits. However, Kīlauea's eruption may have slightly reduced pressure at its neighbor to the north as reflected in slight variations in GPS signals. As usual, our live presentation reviews the recent changes using monitoring data, imagery and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. We annotate the presentation on-screen and discuss live viewer questions as we go.

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