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Volcano, Storm, and News Updates for the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Pressurized As Quakes Cycle

3:04 AM · May 10, 2024

Last week’s high earthquake rates beneath Kīlauea’s Upper East Rift Connector and south caldera slowed over the weekend before resuming on Monday at a slightly lower pace. This signal, along with relatively rapid ground tilting and upward movement in the south caldera and Koaʻe Fault Zone, are still “reflective of increasing pressurization in the magmatic system underlying the Kīlauea summit region,” according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Satellite and ground measurements indicate uplift of over 4 inches or 11 centimeters over the past 2 weeks south of Kīlauea’s main caldera. However, in comparison to the sagging that occurred during the 2018 summit collapse, in 5 and a half years since then, the area south of Kīlauea caldera has uplifted only half of the amount it had previously dropped, roughly. In other words, Kīlauea may be able to stretch even further to accommodate its incoming magma, if 2018 is any guide. There is no increased hazard to people from the uptick in activity, as it remains within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Volcanic gas emissions are still the main current threat to residents and visitors between eruptions, but remain relatively low around 60 tonnes of SO2 per day, still a concern for sensitive individuals nearby. Maunaloa continues to recharge following its 2022 eruption, overall remaining quiet with few earthquakes and sustained slow inflation. As a special bonus this week to mark its 100-year anniversary, we discuss the prequel to the famous Kīlauea explosive eruption of 1924, which was preceded by 3 separate events on the Middle East Rift accompanied by draining and collapse at Halemaʻumaʻu. Next week we will delve more fully into the explosive phase that followed. 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.