Hawai'i Volcano Blog

Volcano Activity Update: March 23, 2017

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This 3D model of the lava lake at Kīlauea’s summit was constructed from a series of thermal images acquired during an overflight on Thursday, March 16, 2017.  The lava lake is about 820 feet across. The lake is within the Overlook crater, which is within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
The model shows that a portion of the Overlook crater wall, along the southern wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, is overhanging. If this portion of the crater wall collapses it could trigger a small explosive event, similar to those which occurred in November and December of 2016.

Kīlauea continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone.

This past week, the summit lava lake level varied between about 46 to 105 feet below the vent rim.

The 61g flow was still active, with lava entering the ocean near Kamokuna and small surface breakouts downslope of Puʻu ʻŌʻō above the pali and on the coastal plain.


The 61g flows do not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.

Mauna Loa is not erupting.

During the past week, small-magnitude earthquakes continued to occur beneath the volcano, most commonly beneath the east flank at depths greater than 3 miles and in the summit region, upper Southwest Rift Zone, and upper west flank at depths less than 3 miles.


GPS measurements continue to show deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone.

No significant change in the summit fumarole temperature or gas output was noted this past week.

Three earthquakes were reported felt on the Island of Hawai‘i during the past week.


On Friday, March 17, at 6:09 p.m. HST, a magnitude 3.5 earthquake occurred 7 miles west of Waikoloa at a depth of 26 miles.

On Sunday, March 19, at 2:17 p.m. HST, a magnitude 2.7 earthquake occurred 5 miles southwest of Volcano at a depth of 20 miles.

On Thursday, March 23, at 10:27 a.m. HST, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake occurred 6 miles south of Volcano at a depth of 3 miles. This quake was the largest felt event of the week with 193 responses indicating a maximum intensity of V.

This weekly activity update is written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates.

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