Hazard Notification System (HANS) for Volcanoes

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HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Sunday, January 16, 2022, 9:10 AM HST (Sunday, January 16, 2022, 19:10 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: The summit eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, has entered another pause. All recent lava activity has been confined to the crater, and there are no indications of activity migrating elsewhere on Kīlauea.

Summit Observations: Summit tiltmeters began recording a strong deflationary trend at about 2:15 p.m. yesterday, January 15, accompanied by drops in tremor and lava lake surface level. Similar pauses in recent weeks have ranged in duration from 1 to 3 days. A flurry of small-magnitude earthquakes recorded at the summit during recent days, at depths ranging from about 10–14 km (6–9 miles) below sea level, continues. The most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate of approximately 300 tonnes per day (t/d) was measured on January 11 during the eruption pause, while a rate of approximately 3,300 t/d was measured on the morning of January 6 when the lava lake was active.

Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava has ceased erupting from the western vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The lava lake surface level has dropped about 10 meters (33 feet) since the pause began yesterday afternoon. There has been occasional minor activity at the vent on the north side of the spatter cone, as well as overturns on the cooling lava lake surface and small lava ooze-outs along the margins of the crusted-over eastern side of the lake. The lake has seen a total rise of about 70 meters (230 feet) since lava emerged on September 29, 2021. Measurements on December 30, 2021, indicated that the total lava volume effused since the beginning of the eruption was approximately 40 million cubic meters (10.5 billion gallons) at that time.

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 East Rift Zone, and along the Southwest Rift Zone. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō, in the middle East Rift Zone, were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.

Hazard Analysis: This eruption at Kīlauea's summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects downwind. 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 lava fountains that will fall downwind and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the erupting fissure 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 the 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 Hawaiʻi 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 such dustings 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-and-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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Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards

Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/

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.