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Kīlauea Eruption Update, Christmas Eve, Dec 24th - 8:23pm HST

6:24 AM · Dec 25, 2020

The eruption inside of the Halema’uma’u Crater continues this Christmas Eve. Activity remains focused at two fissures on the walls of the steep crater leading down to the rising lava lake contained inside the collapse pit formed in 2018. The northern most predominant eruptive vent was submerged in lava over the course of the last 24 hours, while the western vent shows only intermittent activity and is still above the pooled lava. As of this morning, the depth of the lava lake is now 554 feet deep (169m) - increasing almost 40ft in 24 hours. USGS suggests that when the eruptive vents are submerged there is no change in volcanic hazard expected. Gas Emissions - Sulfur dioxide and other volcanic emissions from the eruption site have returned vog to many downwind areas that saw a reprieve following the 2018 eruption. SO2 levels measured by USGS-HVO are around 35,000-40,000 tonnes per day in the most recent samples. For comparison sake, at the height of Fissure 8 during the 2018 eruption the SO2 emissions were over 100,000 tonnes per day. LERZ - No notable changes along the Lower East Rift Zone and the 2018 eruption sites. Pahala Earthquakes - At 6:12pm HST this evening two magnitude 3.8 and M3.3 earthquakes at a depth of roughly 33km near Pahala occurred separated by 5 minutes. Earthquakes in this area at that depth have been fairly elevated over the last year, but there is not any correlation between earthquakes in this region and short term changes on Kīlauea. Seismologists and geophysicists we have spoken with previously suggest that this general area of Pahala and the deep earthquake activity is associated with the supply of magma from the depth of the mantle plume that ultimately supplies lava to the volcano. Even during elevated earthquake activity periods around Pahala, it is not considered unusual and the earthquakes are very deep. USGS-HVO Volcano Watch: Volcano Advisory Level - At the time of the onset of the Dec 20th eruption the USGS volcano alert-level was reading GREEN/ NORMAL background levels of activity, although an injection of magma had occurred weeks earlier on Dec 2nd. In today’s Volcano Watch USGS address the sudden rise of the alert-level and aviation color codes from NORMAL/GREEN up to RED/WARNING, skipping both YELLOW and ORANGE. This week’s Volcano Watch addresses what happened, and how this eruption was on the sneaky side. Volcano Watch:


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