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HVO UPDATE: Last ‘Hurrah’ for GPS Instrument

May 7, 2019, 1:27 PM HST (Updated May 7, 2019, 1:27 PM)
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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released an update on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

A small collapse of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater at 6:14 a.m. on May 1, 2019, was the last ‘hurrah’ for a GPS instrument located on the crater’s edge (red circle). This station, designated PUOC, served faithfully throughout Kīlauea’s 2018 eruption and was an important source of information on the shallow magma system of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. The station’s last reported position showed it moving rapidly to the southeast, consistent with motion into the crater (inset shows data transmissions from April 11 through this morning). Monitoring of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is currently being accomplished by additional GPS and tilt stations farther from the edge of the crater. The larger equipment installation near the solar panels was not affected by this morning’s collapse and continues to function. However, contingency plans are in place in case collapses of the crater edge continue. PC: USGS photo by I. Johanson on March 18, 2019, annotated on May 1, 2019. (Click to enlarge).

Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Monitoring data over the past nine months have shown relatively low rates of seismicity, deformation, and gas emission at the summit and East Rift Zone, including the area of the 2018 eruption.

As of March 26, 2019, Kīlauea Volcano is at NORMAL/GREEN. For definitions of USGS Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes.,

Despite this classification, Kīlauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to a return to eruption, the time frame of warning may be short. Island of Hawaiʻi residents should be familiar with the long-term hazard map for Kīlauea Volcano and should stay informed about Kīlauea activity.

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Observations: Monitoring data revealed no significant changes in volcanic activity over the past week. On the morning of May 1, web camera images revealed that part of the crater rim on the north side of Puʻu ʻŌʻō had collapsed, destroying a monitoring station’s GPS antenna. The GPS had been showing motions consistent with rim instability for several weeks, so this collapse is not interpreted to be associated with magmatic activity.

Generally low seismicity continues across the volcano, with earthquakes occurring primarily in the summit and south flank regions. The largest Kīlauea earthquake over the past week was a M3.3 event on May 3, approximately 2.5 miles south of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, at a depth of 4.7 miles below ground level. USGS received 18 felt-reports following this event, which was likely an aftershock of larger earthquakes nearby over the past year.

GPS stations and tiltmeters continue to show motions consistent with refilling of the deep East Rift Zone magma reservoir. A common Deflation-Inflation (“DI”) event began at the Kīlauea summit on May 4, which saw two days of deflationary tilt before transitioning to inflationary tilt last night; this behavior is normal and has been observed at the volcano for many years. Sulfur dioxide emission rates from the summit and from Puʻu ʻŌʻō remain low.

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Hazards remain in the lower East Rift Zone eruption area and at the Kīlauea summit. Residents and visitors near the 2018 fissures, lava flows, and summit collapse area should heed Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and National Park warnings. Hawai‘i County Civil Defense advises that lava flows and features created by the 2018 eruption are primarily on private property and persons are asked to be respectful and not enter or park on private property.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea’s seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of increased activity. HVO maintains visual surveillance of the volcano with web cameras and occasional field visits. HVO will continue to issue a weekly update (every Tuesday) until further notice, and will issue additional messages as warranted by changing activity.

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