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Kīlauea Report: Volcano Swells as Resumption Deadline Approaches

11:33 PM · Aug 10, 2021

The volcano continues to swell with increasing earthquakes, two-and-a-half months since the end of its most recent eruption, continuing the curiosity of whether that eruption “resumes” by returning lava to the surface before August 24th, or if the next activity will be called a “new” eruption by crossing the three-month threshold without effusion. Seismicity has increased recently around the summit and upper rift zones, with 3 of the last 5 days exceeding 100 daily quakes, but it remains to be seen if this is a short-term or sustained change. Long-term inflation is still indicated by ground-tilt and GPS signals, with frequent, small short-term variations evident on tilt-meter plots (including recently infrequent Deflation-Inflation events). The hardened and cooling lava lake surface within Halemaʻumaʻu crater still shows short-term variations in elevation on the order of 10 cm both up and down, with the exact cause unknown but perhaps related to the cooling process or tilting ground in the area. However, the most recent volcanic gas measurement, of 70-75 tonnes per day of SO2 around August 5th, still falls into the background non-eruptive and non-alarming range, with no other significant changes reported by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in their weekly reports. In the meantime, HVO scientists still offer glimpses into their routine annual summer field-work, this week sharing a photo of the recent GPS campaign. In summary, the build-up to the next outbreak of lava continues similar to the past month, with so far only the seismicity showing signs of slowly accelerating. When other monitoring signals mirror that trend, an eruption may be imminent, but for now we can only wait and wonder when that might be. --- Join our weekly live video review of Kīlauea and Maunaloa volcanoes, at 5pm Hawaiʻi time Thursdays! To support our productions please like, share and subscribe! Mahalo! #Kilauea2021 [USGS Image and caption: In recent weeks, HVO geophysicists have been undertaking a Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign across Kīlauea. During such a campaign—which is completed annually—scientists temporarily deploy a number of GPS instruments at established benchmarks; their recorded positions can be compared with those from previous years to discern subtle patterns of ground deformation associated with volcanic activity. These data augment the permanent, continuously recording GPS instruments in HVO's monitoring network. Here, a HVO geophysicist is leveling and centering one of the survey tripods over a benchmark southwest of Halema‘uma‘u in the Ka‘ū Desert. August 6, 2021.]

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