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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Kīlauea's Central Vent Returns to Prominence

3:04 AM · Feb 17, 2023

While Kīlauea's 2023 eruption progresses through its second month much as before, on its crater surface a noticeable shift occurred this week as the east lake vent reduced its output and the central vent returned to vigorous action. The switch occurred as the volcano emerged from a deflation-inflation cycle to fill and overflow the smaller central lake rather than the east lake, which for a further 18 hours only remained as two small lava ponds. At that point, the large flows from the central vent poured into the east lake basin and refilled it, shortly before the return of the east lake's southern fountain in a subdued role. The western lake continued to steadily circulate lava and feed its intermittent bright southeast pit despite the more dramatic changes on the eastern crater floor. As before, these are only minor changes in the lava outlet through the crusted lake, which continues to fill beneath and uplift the nearly 300-acre crater floor in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, with no increased threat to people. All lava activity remains contained within Kīlauea's summit crater of Halemaʻumaʻu, with no indications of unusual activity in either rift zone. Gas emissions remain stable within typical long-term eruptive levels, with 2,000 tonnes per day reported on February 13, still the primary hazard of concern for this eruption with widespread vog still affecting island communities. Despite the rainy and stormy weather, localized vog has still been detectable from time to time. As usual, we review the recent changes in the eruption using webcam timelapses, videos, and reports courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, annotate the presentation on-screen, and discuss live viewer questions. Maunaloa continues to be unaffected by Kīlauea's activity, and its recent lava flows continue to cool, with no further monitoring changes to report.

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