Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for September 15, 2016

The lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea remained at a high level today, about 18 m (60 ft) from the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the time of this photo. Photo taken Monday, September 12, 2016 courtesy of USGS/HVO

The lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea remained at a high level today, about 18 m (60 ft) from the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the time of this photo. Photo taken Monday, September 12, 2016 courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse thermal image movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Crater looking Southwest. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Time-lapse movie of Kīlauea Caldera from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

(Activity updates are written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.)

Kīlauea continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone. During the past week, in concert with summit inflation and deflation, the summit lava lake level generally varied between about 11 m and 21 m (36–69 ft) below the vent rim within Halema‘uma‘u Crater, but reached 5-6 m (16-20 ft) below the rim on Saturday, Sept. 10. On the East Rift Zone, the “61g” lava flow continued to enter the ocean. The lava flow does not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Rates of deformation and seismicity at Mauna Loa remain above long-term background levels. Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements continue to show ground surface deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone, with inflation occurring mainly in the southwestern part of Mauna Loa’s summit caldera magma storage complex. Shallow earthquakes, at depths less than 5 km (3 mi) beneath the south caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone, continue to occur. This past week, two magnitude-3.4 earthquakes occurred near the volcano’s summit. Following these events, no significant changes were observed in other monitoring data, and the Volcano Alert Level for Mauna Loa remains at Advisory.

One earthquake was reported felt on the Island of Hawaiʻi this past week. On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at 3:14 p.m., HST, a magnitude-3.4 earthquake occurred 4.9 km (3.0 mi) north of Mauna Loa’s summit at a depth of 13.5 km (8.4 mi).

Please visit the HVO website (hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea daily eruption updates, Mauna Loa weekly updates, volcano photos, recent earthquakes info, and more; call for summary updates at 808-967-8862 (Kīlauea) or 808-967-8866 (Mauna Loa); email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov


Time-lapse movie from images gathered from a temporary thermal camera looking into Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. The temperature scale is in degrees Celsius up to a maximum of 500 Celsius (932 Fahrenheit) for this camera model, and scales based on the maximum and minimum temperatures within the frame. Thick fume, image pixel size and other factors often result in image temperatures being lower than actual surface temperatures. September 8-15, 2016. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

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