Another Kīlauea Eruption seems to be beginning

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In summary, volcanic activity has increased at the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii with recent earthquakes, swelling, and sightings of lava. This comes after a major eruption in 2018 and a period of low activity. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has issued a warning and elevated the alert level to red. Monitoring data has shown increased uplift and earthquake rates, as well as other changes in the summit region. HVO is currently assessing the hazards associated with this eruption and will provide updates as more information becomes available. This is the first eruption outside of the caldera following a partial collapse in 2018, which deepened the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The situation is rapidly evolving and HVO is in communication with local
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BillTre
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TL;DR Summary
Volcanic activity has once again been picking up at in the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii.
It erupted two years ago.
Volcanic activity has once again been picking up at in the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii.
There have been earthquakes, swelling of parts of the volcano, and now lava sightings.
Two years ago Kīlauea had an extensive and destructive eruption out of a field of cracks on its side. (PF thread on that eruption is here).

Here is an extensive excerpt from an e-mail from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:

Volcanic Activity Summary: Shortly after approximately 9:30 p.m. HST, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detected glow within Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. An eruption has commenced within Kīlauea’s summit caldera. The situation is rapidly evolving and HVO will issue another statement when more information is available.

Accordingly, HVO has elevated Kīlauea’s volcano alert level to WARNING and its aviation color code to RED.

Alert levels and aviation color codes are explained here: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels

HVO continues to monitor the volcano closely and will report any significant changes.

Stay informed about Kīlauea by following volcano updates and tracking current monitoring data on the HVO web page (https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/volcano-updates) or by signing up to receive updates by email at this site:https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.

HVO is in communication with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as this situation, which is taking place within the park, evolves.

HVO is in contact with the County of Hawai‘i Civil Defense Agency.

Recent Observations:

For the past several weeks, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has recorded ground deformation and earthquake rates at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit and upper East Rift Zone that have exceeded background levels observed since the conclusion of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse.

Beginning in September 2020, increased rates of uplift were observed by GPS stations in Kīlauea’s upper East Rift Zone. In the past month, increased uplift has also been measured at GPS stations in Kīlauea’s summit region. While uplift related to post-collapse inflation of the summit reservoir has been occurring since March of 2019, rates have been steadily increasing in recent months and are currently higher than they have been since the end of the 2018 eruption.

In late November 2020, increased earthquake rates began when seismic stations recorded an average of at least 480 shallow, small-magnitude earthquakes (97% of which were less than or equal to magnitude-2) per week occurring at depths of less than 4 km (2.5 miles) beneath Kīlauea's summit and upper East Rift Zone. This compares to a rate of fewer than 180 per week following the end of Kīlauea’s 2018 eruption and through early November 2020.

On December 2, 2020, GPS stations and tiltmeters recorded a ground deformation event at Kīlauea’s summit. Accompanied by earthquake swarms, the patterns of ground deformation observed were consistent with a small dike intrusion of magma under the southern part of Kīlauea caldera. The injection resulted in about 8 cm (3 inches) of uplift of the caldera floor, and modeling suggests that it represented 0.4–0.7 million cubic meters (yards) of magma accumulated approximately 1.5 km (1 mile) beneath the surface. Though the intrusion did not reach the surface and erupt, it represented a notable excursion from trends observed in Kīlauea summit monitoring data streams following the end of the 2018 eruption.

On December 17, 2020, seismometers detected a notable increase in occurrence and duration of long-period seismic signals beneath Kīlauea’s summit, which are attributed to magmatic activity. Whereas this type of seismicity was observed on average once every few weeks following the 2018 eruption, rates have increased to over a dozen in the past several days.

Other monitoring data streams including volcanic gas and webcam imagery were stable until this eruption.

An earthquake swarm began on the evening of December 20, accompanied by ground deformation detected by tiltmeters. An orange glow was subsequently observed on IR monitoring cameras and visually beginning approximately 21:36 HST.

Recent Observations:
[Volcanic cloud height] unknown
[Other volcanic cloud information] unknown
[Lava flow/dome] unknown
[Ballistics] unknown
[Lava flow] unknown

Hazard Analysis:
[General hazards] unknown
[Ash cloud] unknown
[Ashfall] unknown
[Lava flow/dome] unknown
[Mud flow] NA
[Other hazards] unknown
[Volcanic gas] unknown
[Lava flow] unknown

Remarks: Hazard Analysis:

HVO is currently assessing the hazards associated with this eruption and will provide updates as information becomes known.

At the present time, no explosions have been detected.

For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, please see:

https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards and

https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kila...questions-about-k-lauea-volcanos-summit-water

Remarks:

Background

Since the early 1800s, when written records of Hawaiian volcanoes began, Kīlauea has had infrequent periods during which no lava erupted.

The longest known eruptive pause was in 1935-1952, ending with eruption in the caldera. Neither that 17-year pause, nor any other shorter pause, followed partial collapse of the caldera such as the collapse that occurred in the summer of 2018.

Following partial caldera collapses, the first eruption outside the caldera took place on the East Rift Zone 17 years after the 1823 collapse, on the Southwest Rift Zone 28 years after the 1840 collapse, and on the Southwest Rift Zone 52 years after the 1868 collapse.

After partial caldera collapses in 1840 and 1868, lava returned to the caldera within days to a few weeks. The length of the current pause exceeds those earlier post-collapse pauses.

Kīlauea Volcano has maintained a low level of non-eruptive unrest since the end of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse, which deepened Halemaʻumaʻu crater by over 500 meters (1640 feet). Following the 2018 eruption, ground deformation rates have indicated steady inflation of Kīlauea’s summit and at the end of 2018, the HVO monitoring network detected Deflation-Inflation events (DI-events) indicative that the shallow Halemaʻumaʻu magma reservoir, located approximately 1.6 km (1 mile) under Kīlauea caldera, still contained significant amounts of magma.

In late July 2019, ponded water appeared at the base of the deepest collapsed area of Kīlauea’s summit, within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Since then, the body of water has grown into a lake, which continues to rise as it seeks equilibrium with the surrounding groundwater.
 
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Well, it is 2020.

As of Dec 20 - The water lake at the summit of Kīlauea has boiled away and an effusive eruption has commenced, with three vents in the wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater generating lava flows that are contributing to a growing lava lake at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The eruption is currently confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm
https://www.usgs.gov/news/k-lauea-volcano-erupts-0

Keep a healthy distance if viewing in person.
 
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Wow, it's really interesting to see how the volcanic activity at Kīlauea has been increasing over the past few months. It's amazing how the scientists at HVO are able to monitor and track all of the changes happening at the volcano. I remember following the eruption in 2018 and it was truly devastating to see the destruction caused by the lava flow. I hope that this new eruption doesn't cause as much damage and that everyone in the area stays safe. It's also fascinating to read about the history of Kīlauea and how it has had periods of non-eruptive unrest in the past. Thanks for sharing this information and keeping us updated on the situation.
 

Related to Another Kīlauea Eruption seems to be beginning

1. What is the cause of the potential Kīlauea eruption?

The potential Kīlauea eruption is caused by the movement of magma beneath the surface of the volcano. This movement can create pressure and eventually lead to an eruption.

2. Is there a way to predict when the eruption will happen?

While scientists can monitor the activity of Kīlauea, it is not possible to accurately predict when an eruption will occur. Volcanic activity is complex and can change rapidly, making it difficult to make precise predictions.

3. How long could the eruption last?

The duration of a Kīlauea eruption can vary greatly. Some eruptions can last for weeks or even months, while others may only last for a few days. The length of the eruption depends on the amount of magma and the intensity of the activity.

4. What are the potential hazards of the eruption?

The potential hazards of a Kīlauea eruption include lava flows, volcanic gases, and ashfall. These can pose risks to nearby communities and can also affect air quality and travel in the surrounding areas.

5. How are scientists monitoring the potential eruption?

Scientists use a variety of tools and methods to monitor the potential eruption of Kīlauea. This includes measuring seismic activity, gas emissions, and changes in the shape of the volcano. Satellite imagery and ground-based sensors are also used to track changes in the volcano's behavior.

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