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Hawaiian Volcano Update: Maunaloa Flank Quakes, Kīlauea Filling Slowly Recovers

3:03 AM · Oct 21, 2022

We continue our Maunaloa coverage, reviewing last week's flank earthquakes highlighed by two events with magnitudes of 5.0 and 4.6 at moderate depths under Pāhala, and placing them in spatial context relative to the other areas of earthquake activity. Summit seismicity is still elevated with another small swarm occurring today, suggesting magma is still filling, perhaps stimulated by the flank activity which continues at low levels. Deep Pāhala quakes also continue independent of the island's surface adjustments. There is still no sign of an imminent ramp-up in activity, according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and supported by our review of current monitoring signals. We also dig into the potential significance of flank earthquakes based on models and examine their pattern in the year-long build-up to the 1975 summit eruption, which is one analogue for the current unrest given the mountain's 25-year repose since its previous activity. It has been 38 years since Maunaloa's most recent eruption, the longest gap in the last 200 years of recorded history. On Kīlauea, it’s been one month since the recent summit intrusion caused a drop in Halemaʻumaʻu crater floor and within its active lava lake, which has only recovered about 60% of its 33-foot or 10-meter drop in that time. The lava level within the lake continues to slowly rise overall, with short-term drops mirroring the background deflation-inflation cycles of ground-tilt. Otherwise, lava continues to inject below the crusted crater floor and lift it in its usual fashion while still swelling underground. The activity of nearby Maunaloa volcano appears to have had only a minor effect on Kīlauea’s monitoring signals. Though ooze-up flows have not added to the show over the past few weeks, viewing for visitors to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park continues to be popular, with the lake, West Vent cones and pond still visible, glowing and spattering in the distance. Gas emissions continue, and south winds have dispersed vog to a greater number of island communities, which remains the primary hazard of the eruption. All recent activity has been confined to the crater, and according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory no unusual activity has been noted in either rift zone. update:


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