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Eruption at Kīlauea Volcano Has Paused

May 26, 2021, 2:28 PM HST
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Lava lake statistics through May 7, 2021 (USGS Photo)

Kīlauea Volcano is no longer erupting.

Observations indicate that the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano has paused, according to USGS – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

This morning, May 26, the lava lake is 751 feet deep and is stagnant across its surface. Within the past 48 hours, no active lava was observed in webcam images of the Halema‘uma‘u crater lava lake surface.

On May 25, field crews did not observe any signs of lava lake activity and reported no signs of recently active surface lava. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain slightly elevated.

HVO will issue a Volcano Activity Notice (VAN) lowering the Volcano Alert Level for ground-based hazards from WATCH to ADVISORY and the Aviation Color Code from ORANGE to YELLOW. HVO continues to monitor Kīlauea Volcano closely for additional signs of changes in activity.

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According to HVO’s summit observations, the most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates, measured on May 23, were 100 tonnes per day, continuing a trend of decreased emission rates that began in mid-April. The SO2 emission rates are now nearly at levels associated with the recent non-eruptive period from late 2018 to late 2020 (less than 50 tonnes per day) and are significantly lower than emission rates that averaged over 800 tonnes per day from mid-February to mid-April.

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Summit tiltmeters recorded slight but continuous deflation over the past 24 hours. Seismicity remains stable, with elevated tremor.

No unusual activity was noted in the East Rift Zone. Geodetic monitors indicate that the summit and upper East Rift Zone, between the summit and Puʻuʻōʻō, is refilling at rates similar to those measured over the past two years and before the December 2020 eruption. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.

Observations in Halemaʻumaʻu at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano has paused. It is possible that the Halema‘uma‘u vent could resume eruption or that Kīlauea is entering a period of quiescence prior the next eruption.

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The total volume of the lake is approximately 41.2 million cubic meters (11 billion gallons). Within the past 48 hours, no active lava was observed in webcam images of the Halema‘uma‘u crater lava lake surface. Small incandescent spots visible in thermal webcam imagery since May 23 persist but have become much fainter. The lake’s surface is covered by stagnant and solidified lava crust.

For more up-to-date monitoring information on Kīlauea, click here

Hazardous volcanic gases are billowing out the crater and present a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women. For more information on air quality, click here

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