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USGS-HVO Back To Daily Updates On Kīlauea As Alert Level Is Raised

9:09 PM · Aug 25, 2021

Full update from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for August 25, 2021. --- Activity Summary: Kīlauea volcano is not erupting, though changes continue to occur in the summit region. This morning, August 25, the change in ground deformation of Kīlauea’s summit region persists, along with elevated seismic activity 1-2 km (0.6-1.2 mi) below the surface of the southern part of Kīlauea’s summit caldera; however, rates have decreased over the past 12 hours. Other monitoring data streams, including sulfur dioxide emission rates and webcam views, do not show changes. Summit Observations: Elevated seismicity, which began at approximately 4:30 p.m. HST on August 23, continues beneath the south part of Kīlauea’s summit caldera, within the closed area Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Within the past 24 hours, over 275 earthquakes have been detected; the rate of earthquakes detected per hour peaked at 28 events detected between 7 and 8 p.m. HST on August 24. Rates of earthquakes have decreased over the past 12 hours, over which time about 75 earthquakes have been detected at a rate of 5-12 events per hour. Most of the earthquakes are between magnitude 1 and 2 and are occurring approximately 1-2 km (0.6-1.2 mi) below the surface. Over the past 24 hours, summit tiltmeters have continued to record a change in the rate and style of ground deformation in the summit region, with a slight decrease in rate overnight. These observations suggest that magma may be continuing to be supplied beneath the surface of the south part of Kīlauea’s summit caldera, though at a decreased rate over approximately the past 12 hours. SO2 emission rates remain at very low levels that have persisted since May 2021, when the most recent summit eruption ended. Concentrations of SO2 in ambient air, measured at stations in the Kīlauea summit region, show no changes associated with the increased earthquake activity and ground deformation rates. The most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates, measured on August 12, were 50 tonnes per day, close to levels associated with the non-eruptive period from late 2018 to late 2020 (less than 50 tonnes per day). This is significantly lower than emission rates that averaged over 800 tonnes per day from mid-February to mid-April when the summit eruption of Kīlauea was ongoing. Southwest Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity noted in the region. No indication of activity migrating into the region. East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity noted into the region. No indication of activity migrating into the region. Ground deformation monitors indicate that the upper East Rift Zone—between the summit and Puʻuʻōʻō—is refilling at rates similar to those measured over the past 2 years and before the December 2020–May 2021 eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021. Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: The surface of Halema‘uma‘u lava lake, which was actively erupting from December 2020–May 2021, remains covered by stagnant and solidified lava crust. Currently, there is no indication of Halema‘uma‘u vent resuming eruption. Hazard Analysis: Levels of volcanic gas (SO2 and CO2) can remain locally hazardous even though Kīlauea is not erupting. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emissions remain low. However, local concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) may persist in downwind areas, and residents may from time to time notice odors of these gasses. Significant hazards also remain around Halemaʻumaʻu from crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea’s seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions, and maintains visual surveillance of the summit and the East Rift Zone. HVO will continue to issue daily Kīlauea Volcano updates and additional messages as needed.