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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Magma Moving Within South Caldera, May 30, 2024

3:11 AM · May 31, 2024

While Kīlauea has triggered fewer earthquakes than recent weeks, for the past 5 days the volcano has been pulsing “low-frequency energy signals typical of magma movement” according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The “heightened seismic unrest” thus continues, but with a different character, and the potential of an escalation to eruption within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park still remains. This pattern has dominated Kīlauea since October, following its most recent eruption in September 2023. The South Caldera area continues to inflate while the inner caldera oscillates in width, likely tracking pulses of magma southwards beyond the boundaries of its measurement, where the Koaʻe Fault Zone continues to show uplift through satellite data. Between this movement and the accommodation of intrusions into the Southwest Rift, the volcano continues to grow without the need for eruption. There is currently no increased hazard to people, with volcanic gas emissions still the main threat to residents and visitors between eruptions. Gas measurements remain relatively low around 60 tonnes of SO2 per day, still of concern for sensitive residents and visitors nearby. Maunaloa continues to recharge following activity in 2022, remaining relatively quiet with few earthquakes and sustained slow inflation, in addition to occasional flank movement in response to events on neighboring Kīlauea. For our volcano awareness segment today, we revisit Kīlauea’s May 31, 1954 eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu, which burst through in the pre-dawn and was largely over by mid-morning. Similar to last week, we overlay a post-2018 collapse geologic map on the current landscape to track the current position of what remains of the 1954 lava. If our present state of unrest escalates, the most likely location for an eruption is still within the caldera, and might resemble our colorized views of 1954. Further, we step back into our 2018 archive of Dane’s Drones On series, recapping the way-too-dynamic last week of May 2018 as lava continued to erupt from the Lower East Rift. This includes “Hell Night” on May 27, the reactivation of fissure 8 or Ahuʻailāʻau on May 29, and the turn of the flow towards Kapoho. Our goal since the 2018 eruption remains to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery through volcano education and resilience network building, so that our communities will be more resilient in the face of similarly impactful events. As usual, we review the monitoring signals, imagery, and reports available courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, annotating the presentation on screen as we go and discussing live viewer questions. Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/live/18BIenpGZWg

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