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

Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Quakes - Magnitudes 5.1, 4.4 & Volcanic Swarms

2:51 AM · Dec 8, 2023

Over the past week, Kīlauea exhibited all three of its earthquake types: tectonic movement of the south flank through a M5.1 on Monday, deep flexural settling through a M4.4 on Wednesday, and continuing waxing and waning of volcanic swarms associated with the ongoing intrusion south and west of the summit. While generally these larger events illustrate the progression of adjustments on the volcano, in the short term not much has changed as the general pattern of the past two months continues. Presently, both the Halemaʻumaʻu and Outlet areas within and southwest of the summit caldera are showing inflation, even as injection-driven movement continues far to the southwest at Hilina Pali and Elemakule. The Upper East Rift Connector also continues to quake, connected to the area of largest swelling by the Koaʻe Faults, but there is no sign of change in the Middle or Lower East Rift Zones which continue to contract and sag following the aftermath of 2018. The volcano remains primed with the potential to erupt, but is still able to compensate for the increased pressure through its underground injections across a wide area, at least for now. Overall, the situation remains much the same as in recent weeks, with extended underground adjustments at one end of the spectrum of possibility, and a short lead-up to an eruption at the other end. All changes are contained within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and pose no increased threat to people at this time. Gas emissions remain at background levels for the volcano around 100 tonnes of SO2 per day, but can still affect sensitive individuals in downwind areas. Typically gas emissions are at their worst at the start of each eruption, thus between eruptions is the best time for those exposed to prepare. Maunaloa remains quiet as its 1-year eruption anniversary draws to a close this weekend, with deep earthquakes all but ceasing for now, and shallow events occurring at a slow background rate. For now, the volcano remains at the lowest USGS warning level.