HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 8:26 AM HST (Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 18:26 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, continued over the past 24 hours. Extensive breakouts have occurred along the western and northern parts of the crater floor within this time. These breakouts coincided with a drop in the crater floor and the active part of the lava lake. All activity remains confined to the crater floor of Halemaʻumaʻu with no significant changes in areas outside of the summit.
Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Eruption of lava from the western vent into the active lava lake and onto the crater floor continued over the past 24 hours with extensive breakouts in the western and northern parts of the crater floor starting at 4:00 PM HST on September 20, 2022. The active part of the lava lake dropped by 10 meters (33 feet) and other parts of the crater floor dropped by several meters (several yards). Overflight measurements from September 12, 2022, indicated that the crater floor had seen a total rise of about 143 meters (469 feet), and that 111 million cubic meters (29.2 billion gallons) of lava had been effused since the beginning of this eruption on September 29, 2021.
Summit Observations: Summit tiltmeters recorded a large increase in inflationary tilt of approximately 12 microrads (at UWE) and 1.5 microrads (at SDH) from 3:00 to 4:00 PM, which has remained flat since. This was in association with a summit seismic swarm of more than 80 earthquakes from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Most earthquakes in this swarm occurred approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) beneath Halemaʻumaʻu. The largest recorded earthquake was a magnitude 2.9, with the majority of the earthquakes being less than magnitude 2. Volcanic tremor remains above background levels. A sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate of approximately 1055 tonnes per day (t/d) was measured on September 20, 2022.
Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted along the East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone; low rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along both. Measurements from continuous gas monitoring stations downwind of Puʻuʻōʻō in the middle East Rift Zone remain below detection limits for SO2, indicating that SO2 emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō are negligible.
Hazard Analysis: This eruption at Kīlauea's summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. 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.
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
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 and American Samoa.
HVO, askHVO@usgs.gov—best contact for regular reporting and questions.
Ken Hon, HVO Scientist in Charge, USGS firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia Deligne, American Samoa Lead Responding Scientist, USGS email@example.com
Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/
Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hazards
Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo
Volcanoes of American Samoa: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/volcanoes-american-samoa
Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/programs/VHP/volcanic-alert-levels-characterize-conditions-us-volcanoes