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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Lava Lake Wanes, Returns

3:03 AM · Feb 3, 2023

Almost one month since the start of Kīlauea's 2023 eruption, its summit crater of Halemaʻumaʻu continues to fill, hosting several lava lakes and offering fantastic views to visitors within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The eastern lake continues to be the largest and most active, though over the past day it began to crust over and recede, dividing into two smaller bodies for a short time, during which the persistent fountain could not always be seen. The drop coincided with the deflationary phase of the first large deflation-inflation cycle of the week, followed by a return of normal lava effusion and refilling of the lake to its previous extent during the inflationary phase. These are minor changes on the volcano's eruptive surface, with other monitoring signals showing no major change in its underground plumbing. Persistent lava lakes are also present in the western pit, formed by the prior eruption, and in the central pit which marked the original fountain locations that began this current eruption. The central pit overflowed several times this past week, accompanied by small bursts of ground tremor, suggesting this activity may be driven by larger, periodic gas releases. Gas emissions remain stable around the typical long-term eruptive levels around 3,000 tonnes per day, still the primary hazard of concern for this eruption with widespread vog still affecting island communities. All lava activity remains contained within Kīlauea's summit crater of Halemaʻumaʻu, with no indications of unusual activity in either rift zone, and thus no added threat to people. As usual, we review the recent changes in the eruption using webcam timelapses, videos, and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, annotating the presentation on-screen as we go, and discuss live viewer questions as usual. Maunaloa continues to be unaffected by Kīlauea's activity, and its recent lava flows continue to cool, with no further monitoring changes to report.

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