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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea Quakes Spike, Still Elevated

3:03 AM · May 26, 2023

Observations on Kīlauea “indicate that magma is accumulating beneath the surface of Kīlauea’s summit region. An eruption at Kīlauea's summit does not appear to be imminent, although heightened unrest suggests that an eruption at Kīlaueaʻs summit might be possible with little or no warning” according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's Status Report on Monday. Summit inflation still “is higher than conditions preceding the January 5, 2023 summit eruption.” Earthquake rates are still elevated, but ramped up on Saturday May 20th to over 100 events in the summit region, punctuated by a series of magnitude 3's: -A M3.1 northwest of Halemaʻumaʻu at a depth of 2.6 miles at 1:02pm HST -A M3.7 northeast of Halemaʻumaʻu at a depth of 0.3 miles at 1:04pm -A M3.2 northwest of Halemaʻumaʻu at a depth of 2.8 miles at 4:08pm Following this sequence, seismicity decreased a little but remains high with 80 events in the summit region in the past day. Similarly, ground-tilt shows the volcano continuing to inflate, but at a slower rate than before the triple M3's. Curiously the ground tilt showed an upward offset with the first two earthquakes, then a downward offset with the third which returned the surface back near its original inclination. The result is a tooth-shaped signal on the ground tilt plot on May 20th. As has been the mantra, only time will tell when this build-up will lead to a new intrusion, eruption, or resumption of the previous activity, but all the signals remain at the summit. There is no sign of anything unusual in either of the volcano's rift zones, and thus no increased threat to people. Gas emissions continue, measured at approximately 90 tonnes of sulfur dioxide per day yesterday, and remain the primary threat to nearby residents. Maunaloa remains quiet as magma continues the normal process of refilling its summit reservoir, with no further changes to report. As usual, our live presentation reviews the recent changes using monitoring data and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. We annotate the presentation on-screen, and discuss live viewer questions. LIVE: https://youtube.com/live/rCInByytVxg

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