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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Quakes Elevate Unrest

3:03 AM · Aug 18, 2023

Earthquakes beneath Kīlauea's summit more than doubled over the past week, and as a result the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has resumed daily public updates “reflecting the elevated level of unrest.” Sunday's widely-felt magnitude 4.3 quake deep beneath Kīlauea, 15 miles or 25 kilometers down, was perhaps an adjustment to the shallower build-up of magma in the volcano, mostly within 1 mile or 2 kilometers of the surface. At the surface, the volcano continues to steadily inflate outwards, as evidenced by the ground-tilt and GPS data. According to the USGS-HVO, “the elevated unrest suggests that an eruption at Kīlauea's summit might be possible with little or no warning, but there is no sign that an eruption is imminent.” Any new activity is expected to occur within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park within the summit region, with no sign of unusual activity in either of the volcano's rift zones or near populated areas. Gas emissions are volcanically-low around 86 tonnes per day, but still sufficient to impact nearby downwind communities as the primary volcanic hazard at this time. Maunaloa's deep earthquakes are now sporadic, otherwise the volcano remains quiet on its surface. Inflation continues there as well as the mountain's large magma reservoirs refill following the 2022 eruption, still not pressurized to cause shallow earthquakes unlike Kīlauea. Our live presentation reviews the recent changes using monitoring data, imagery and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. As usual, we annotate the presentation on-screen and discuss live viewer questions.

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