Kīlauea eruption southwest of summit remains paused and unlikely to restart

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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists visited the area of the June 3 eruption to take measurements of the previous day’s lava flows. USGS photo by M. Zoeller (HVO).

The eruption that began southwest of Kīlauea summit on June 3 has been paused for 48 hours and is unlikely to restart.

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is lowering the Volcano Alert Level for ground-based hazards from WATCH to ADVISORY and the Aviation Color Code from ORANGE to YELLOW.

On Tuesday, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists visited the area to take measurements of the previous day’s lava flows. None of the lava flows were as tall as the geologist; similar to the December 1974 eruption from the same area on Kīlauea, the June 3 eruption produced extremely thin Pāhoehoe flows.


This contrasts with other recent eruptions like that at Pu‘u‘ō‘ō on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone between 1983 and 2018, where Pāhoehoe flows sometimes inflated to tens of meters in thickness. 

Lava stopped erupting from the fissure vents at approximately 9 a.m. on June 3 and lava flows stagnated by noon that day. Tremor, degassing, and incandescence associated with the fissure vents have decreased substantially over the past 48 hours, making it unlikely that the eruption will resume.

Overall seismicity and deformation in the summit region including the eruption area remain very low. While decreasing, volcanic gas emissions at the eruption site remain well above background levels (100 tonnes per day), with a sulfur dioxide emission rate of 5,500 tonnes per day measured yesterday down from 12,000-15,000 tonnes per day on June 3.


A map showing the distribution of lava flows from the June 3 eruption Southwest of Kīlauea summit is available here.

The last eruption in this area occurred in December 1974. The 1974 eruption was continuous for six hours before the eruption ended, compared to 8.5 hours for this recent eruption.

HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea for signs of renewed activity. Should volcanic activity change significantly, a new Volcanic Activity Notice will be issued. All recent activity has occurred within the summit and upper rift zone regions. No unusual activity has been detected in the middle or lower East Rift Zone.


Hazards are still present on Kīlauea and are described below, but elevated sulfur dioxide gas emissions are likely to be persistent for days or weeks. Residents and visitors should stay informed and follow Hawaii County and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park guidelines.

For more information about the meaning of volcano alert levels and aviation color codes, click here.

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