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HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY MONTHLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Thursday, December 3, 2020, 12:39 PM HST (Thursday, December 3, 2020, 22:39 UTC)


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

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Monitoring data for the month of November show variable but typical rates of seismicity and ground deformation, low rates of sulfur dioxide emissions, and only minor geologic changes since the end of eruptive activity in September 2018.

Observations: Monitoring data have shown no significant changes in volcanic activity in November.

There were approximately 1350 earthquakes during the month of November at Kīlauea, decrease of over 35% from the number of October earthquakes.

Over the past month, summit tiltmeters recorded 10 deflation-inflation events. The long-term trend of deformation at Kilauea's summit and middle East Rift Zone continue to show inflation, consistent with magma supply to the volcano’s shallow storage system. GPS stations on Kīlauea’s south flank continue to show elevated rates of seaward motion. HVO continues to carefully monitor all data streams along the Kīlauea East Rift Zone and south flank for important changes.

Sulfur dioxide emission rates are low at the summit, consistent with no significant shallowing of magma. Some amount of sulfur dioxide is being dissolved into shallow groundwater and the crater lake at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u; work continues to try and quantify this process. As of December 1st, the lake depth was approximately 49 meters or 160 feet. The crater lake was last sampled by UAS in October and additional sampling with UAS is planned. Sulfur dioxide emission rates are below detection limits at Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the lower East Rift Zone

Although not currently erupting, areas of persistently elevated ground temperatures and minor release of gases are still found in the vicinity of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone fissures. These include steam (water), very small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide. These conditions are expected to be long-term. Similar conditions following the 1955 eruption continued for years to decades.

Hazards: Hazards remain in the lower East Rift Zone eruption area and at the Kīlauea summit. Residents and visitors near the 2018 fissures, lava flows, and summit collapse area should heed Hawaii County Civil Defense and National Park warnings. Lava flows and features created by the 2018 eruption are primarily on private property and persons are asked to be respectful and not enter or park on private property.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor geologic changes, seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of increased activity at Kīlauea. HVO maintains visual surveillance of the volcano with web cameras and field visits. Additional messages and alert level changes will be issued as warranted by changing activity.

Background Since June 25 2019, Kīlauea Volcano has been at NORMAL/GREEN. For definitions of USGS Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes, see: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels. Kīlauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to the next eruption, the time frame of warning may be short. Island of Hawaiʻi residents should be familiar with the long-term hazard map for Kīlauea Volcano (https://pubs.usgs.gov/mf/1992/2193/) and should stay informed about Kīlauea activity.


HUALALAI VOLCANO (VNUM #332040)
19°41'31" N 155°52'12" W, Summit Elevation 8278 ft (2523 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

No significant activity was recorded at Hualālai Volcano over the past month. There were four small earthquakes detected in the vicinity of the volcano. HVO's continuously recording Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver atop Hualālai recorded no significant deformation over the past month.

Background: Hualālai is the third most active volcano on the Island of Hawaiʻi and typically erupts 2 to 3 times per 1,000 years. Hualālai last erupted in 1801 and, more recently, had a damaging seismic swarm in 1929 that was probably the result of a shallow intrusion of magma. Hualālai Volcano is monitored by one continuous GPS instrument and a seismometer located southeast of the summit as well as several instruments on nearby flanks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Key sites on Hualālai and western Mauna Loa are resurveyed using GPS receivers every few years to detect any changes in the volcano's shape.

MAUNA KEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332030)
19°49'12" N 155°28'12" W, Summit Elevation 13796 ft (4205 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

No significant activity was detected at Mauna Kea Volcano over the past month. There were approximately 14 small magnitude earthquakes detected beneath the summit and flanks of the volcano in November, 20% fewer than in October. The single, continuously recording Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver atop Mauna Kea (operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) recorded no significant changes in deformation.

Background: Mauna Kea was last active about 4,600 years ago. Monitoring is conducted using three seismometers and one GPS receiver on the volcano plus instruments on adjacent Kohala volcano and denser seismic and geodetic networks on the north flank of Mauna Loa to the south.

HALEAKALA VOLCANO (VNUM #332060)
20°42'29" N 156°15' W, Summit Elevation 10023 ft (3055 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

No significant activity was recorded at Haleakalā Volcano over the past month. There were no earthquakes detected in the vicinity of the volcano. The continuously recording Global Positioning System (GPS) instrument atop Haleakalā (MAUI) recorded no significant deformation.

Background: The most recent eruption on Haleakalā was probably between A.D. 1480 and 1600. Haleakalā Volcano is monitored by a continuous GPS instrument and a seismometer located near the southwest edge of the summit crater. Key sites on Haleakalā are resurveyed using GPS receivers every few years to detect any changes in the volcano's shape.

LOIHI SEAMOUNT VOLCANO (VNUM #332000)
18°55'12" N 155°16'12" W, Summit Elevation -3199 ft (-975 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: UNASSIGNED
Current Aviation Color Code: UNASSIGNED

Following the May 11th earthquake swarm on Lō‘ihi Seamount, earthquake activity has decreased and returned to average long-term earthquake rates, with one earthquake detected in the vicinity of the seamount in the past month.

Background: Intermittent earthquake activity has been recorded in the vicinity of Lō‘ihi since as early as 1952. The most energetic earthquake sequence occurred in July-August 1996, which included more than 4,000 earthquakes, 95 of which were magnitude-4.0 to 4.9 events and nearly 300 were larger than magnitude 3 events. There are no working monitoring instruments on Lō‘ihi Volcano whose peak is about 1,000 m (3,280 ft) below sea level. All real-time information about the volcano is derived from land-based seismometers on the Island of Hawai‘i.

MORE INFORMATION:

Kilauea Activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862

Other Hawaiian volcanoes summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8877

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

Kilauea Webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams

Kilauea Photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/photo-video-chronology

Kilauea Lava flow maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/maps

Haleakala Summary: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/haleakala

Hualalai Summary: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/hualalai

Loihi Summary: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/loihi-seamount

Mauna Kea Summary: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-kea

Definitions of terms used in update: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/definitions.pdf

Summary of volcanic hazards from Kīlauea eruptions: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/hazards.pdf

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.