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Hawaii Volcano Observatory Update
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The following is the most recent Volcano Update from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory in the Hawaii Volcano National Park. This update is usually current on weekdays. For more detailed information and historical archives visit the HVO Website.

Kīlauea - Volcano Updates

Kīlauea - Volcano Updates

Alert Level: WATCH, Color Code: ORANGE 2021-12-05 19:44:26

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Sunday, December 5, 2021, 9:44 AM HST (Sunday, December 5, 2021, 19:44 UTC)


KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: Kīlauea volcano has been erupting from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. As of this morning, December 5, 2021, the rate of eruption continues to be very low and any activity is difficult to view given the current weather. All recent lava activity has been confined within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Summit Observations: Lava effusion from the western vent decreased significantly Friday afternoon, accompanied by a decrease in volcanic tremor. Both remain low this morning. A minor deflationary tilt signal recorded on summit tiltmeters that began on Friday afternoon has stabilized and there was little change in tilt over the past 24 hours. The most recent measurement of Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates on November 29, 2021 was approximately 1200 tonnes per day obtained. However, continuous instrument measurements indicate that SO2 emission rates have decreased with the change in eruption rate. Earthquake activity remains below background.

Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava has been erupting from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater, while the eastern edge of the lake has advanced onto the lowest of the exposed down-dropped caldera floor blocks. Friday afternoon, the rate of lava effusion from the western vent decreased sharply. Today, poor viewing conditions make it difficult to confirm the level of activity, however there was no active lava visible at the surface when it was last clearly visible at 9PM yesterday. The decrease in activity indicates an effective pause in the current eruption, however this is the fourth such pause since the eruption began on September 29 and a return to earlier rates of eruption is possible. The western end of the lake has shown little change in maximum elevation over the past several days, with HVO’s permanent laser rangefinder showing an elevation of approximately 809 meters (2654 ft) when a measurement was last possible. The lake has seen a total increase of about 65 meters (213 ft) since lava emerged on September 29. Webcams have shown spatter and ponded lava within the west vent, an area of active lava at the surface of the lava lake, and sporadic oozes of lava along the cooler outer lake margins. The total erupted volume since the beginning of the eruption was estimated to be about 30 million cubic meters (7.8 billion gallons) on November 16.

East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted in the Kīlauea East Rift Zone. Low rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along the rift zones. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.

Hazard Analysis: This new eruption at Kīlauea’s summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects down-wind. Large amounts of volcanic gas—primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)—are continuously released during eruptions of Kīlauea Volcano. As SO2 is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create the visible haze known as vog (volcanic smog) that has been observed downwind of Kīlauea. Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock. For more information on gas hazards at the summit of Kīlauea, please see: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20173017. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/. 

Additional hazards include Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from the lava fountains that will fall downwind of the fissure vents and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the vent (s). Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation. 

Other significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of Kīlauea caldera rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008. 

For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, please see: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards 

Please see the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website for visitor information: https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm. Visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park should note that under southerly (non-trade) wind conditions, there is potential for a dusting of powdery to gritty ash composed of volcanic glass and rock fragments. These ashfalls represent a minor hazard, but visitors should be aware that dustings of ash at areas around the Kīlauea summit are possible. 

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea Volcano.

HVO will continue to issue daily Kīlauea Volcano updates until further notice. Additional messages will be issued as needed.


More Information:
Kīlauea activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862
Kīlauea webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams
Kīlauea photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/photo-video-chronology
Kīlauea lava-flow maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/maps
Kīlauea FAQs: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/faqs

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Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards

Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes

Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels

CONTACT INFORMATION:

askHVO@usgs.gov

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi.

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