Hawaii Volcano Blog

Volcano Activity Update: Intrusion of Magma Continues

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Kīlauea Caldera from HVO Observation Tower
2018-05-02 09:00:07 (HST)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 8:42 a.m.

Overnight, earthquakes continued at a high rate in the area of the rift zone from Highway 130 eastward towards Kapoho. Many events were felt by residents and there have been reports of nearly constant ground vibration in some areas. There is a general trend of migration of seismicity eastward.

Halema‘uma‘u Overlook vent thermal image, May 5, 2018, 9 a.m.


An outbreak of lava in a new location along the East Rift Zone is possible but not certain. Based on the location of current seismicity, the region downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, including the area east of Highway 130, remains the most likely location should an outbreak occur.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory advise residents of the Puna District to remain alert, review individual, family and business emergency plans, and watch for further information about the status of the volcano. Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages may be found online.

Halema‘uma‘u Overlook vent, May 2, 2018, 9 a.m. PC: USGS/HVO

Summit Observations: The summit lava lake remains at a high level. Overall, the summit lava lake has shown no response to activity in the middle and lower East Rift Zone. Summit tiltmeters recorded very little change overnight. Tremor amplitude is fluctuating with lava lake spattering. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist. Current webcam views are here.


Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Seismicity remains elevated at Puʻu ʻŌʻō but tiltmeters near the cone show no significant deformation at this time. Yesterday, May 1, poor weather and airborne ash prevented views into the collapsed crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The thermal web cam shows continuing high heat flux from within the crater. This morning’s web cam images show no further significant ash emission from the crater.

Lava Flow Observations: Scattered, sluggish lava flow activity continues on the upper flow field, on the Pali near the Royal Gardens subdivision and closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This activity does not pose a threat to nearby communities at this time. There is no lava flow activity on the coastal plain and no lava is flowing into the ocean.

Areas of the upper flow field with active lava flows are located within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed to the public by DLNR since 2007 due to volcanic hazards.


Webcam views of the flow field are available here. Maps of the lava flow field can be found here. For more info about the Kahaualeʻa NAR closure, go online.

Lava Flow Field and Ocean Entry Hazards: Hazards of active or recent lava flows include, but are not limited to, hot lava surfaces that can cause serious burns upon contact with unprotected or exposed skin; rough, uneven, and sharp terrain that can lead to falls, abrasions, lacerations, and other injuries; high air temperature and humidity that can lead to dehydration or heat exhaustion; and steamy ground-fog produced by heavy rain falling (sometimes with little warning) on active or recent lava flows; this steam can severely limit visibility, can be acidic and should be avoided.

No services are available on the lava flow field and cell reception is limited.

Consult safety information at these links:

Though inactive at present, the 2016-17 lava delta remains potentially unstable, and collapse of some or all of the delta without warning is possible. In several instances, collapses have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. Explosions of rocky debris remain possible should collapses suddenly expose the hot interior of the inactive lava delta.

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