Kīlauea volcano not erupting despite unrest
Kīlauea volcano is not erupting.
The unrest to the south-southwest of Kīlauea’s summit has continued over the past 24 hours, with a slight decrease in seismicity, in association with an intrusive event that began in early October. Unrest may continue to wax and wane with changes to the input of magma into the area.
The summit of Kīlauea remains at a high level of inflation and eruptive activity is possible in the coming weeks or months. No unusual activity has been noted along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone or the Southwest Rift Zone.
Unrest to the south and southwest of the summit area of Kīlauea continued over the past day with a slight decrease in seismicity. Waxing and waning of unrest may continue.
Elevated seismicity associated with an intrusion beneath the south-southwest region of Kīlauea’s summit began in early October with the greatest number of earthquakes occurring on October 4-6, 16-18, 21-23, and 26-30. Over the past 24 hours, dispursed seismic activity slightly decreased, with approximately 12 earthquakes recorded in Kīlauea’s summit region, a decrease from approximately 20 over the previous 24 hours. Most of the earthquakes related to this unrest have been smaller than magnitude-2 and have occurred at depths of around 0.6–2 miles below the surface.
The Uēkahuna summit tiltmeter, located northwest of the caldera, has measure minor deflation since early Oct. 31. The Sand Hill tiltmeter, located southwest of the caldera, has been stable over the past 24 hours. Overall, inflation at the summit of Kīlauea remains high and has surpassed the level seen just before the most recent eruption on Sept. 10. However, the current rate of inflation in the region has diminished significantly since October 4-6 and more so over the last couple of days.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain low and were measured at a rate of about 100 tonnes per day on Oct. 19.
It is unclear if unrest in Kīlauea summit region will continue and it is not possible to say with certainty if activity will lead to an eruption; activity may remain below the ground surface. However, an eruption remains possible, most likely in Kīlauea’s summit region inside of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and away from infrastructure. Similar patterns of earthquake activity and ground deformation occurred to the south of the caldera prior to the September and June 2023 eruptions in Kīlauea summit caldera (in Halemaʻumaʻu crater and on the downdropped block). Volcanic gas emissions pose the greatest hazard to areas downwind of Kīlauea’s summit.
There is currently no sign of an imminent eruption and increasing inflation and earthquake activity (heightened unrest) are expected to precede an eruption. During periods of heightened unrest prior to recent eruptions at Kīlauea summit, signs of imminent eruption did not appear until 1-2 hours before lava reached the surface. The summit of Kīlauea remains at a high level of inflation and eruptive activity is possible in the coming weeks or months. HVO scientists will continue to monitor Kīlauea volcano closely and will issue additional messages as warranted by changing activity.