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Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for December 7, 2017


Video of an active breakout of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō episode 61G lava flow. This breakout is below the pali on the eastern margin of the flow. Pāhoehoe lava is flowing out from the base of an inflated tumulus, and has a characteristic blue tint to its surface crust (compared to the color of solidified lava around it). Video taken Wednesday, December 6, 2017 courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse thermal image movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Kīlauea Caldera from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

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

This past week, Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake level fluctuated with summit inflation and deflation, ranging about 30–47 m (99–154 ft) below the vent rim. On the East Rift Zone, the 61g lava flow remained active downslope of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, with scattered breakouts on the pali and coastal plain, but no ocean entry. The 61g flows do not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Small-magnitude earthquakes occurred beneath the summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone at depths less than 5 km (3 mi) and at rates similar to the past few weeks. A few deeper earthquakes were scattered beneath the volcano’s southeast and west flanks at depths of 5-13 km (3-8 mi). GPS and InSAR measurements continue to show deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone. No significant changes in volcanic gas emissions were measured.

One earthquake with three or more felt reports occurred in the Hawaiian Islands this past week: a magnitude-2.9 earthquake on November 30, at 12:35 p.m. HST, 14 km (9 mi) southwest of Kailua-Kona and 39 km (24 mi) deep.


Time-lapse movie of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie from a camera positioned on the southeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking toward the active flow advancing to the southeast. The breakout point is at the left edge of the image, and the mid-field skyline at the right is roughly coincident with the top of the pali. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse image movie from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana. November 30-December 7, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

This map shows Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone on November 22, with labels of the crater's main features. The black dashed line outlines where the crater rim was located in 2011. Yellow dashed lines show the current crater (center), west pit (left), and spillway vent (right). The lava pond (outlined in red) within the west pit, which formed in early 2015, was active on November 22.

This map shows Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone on November 22, with labels of the crater’s main features. The black dashed line outlines where the crater rim was located in 2011. Yellow dashed lines show the current crater (center), west pit (left), and spillway vent (right). The lava pond (outlined in red) within the west pit, which formed in early 2015, was active on November 22.

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