Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater floor collapses, increased earthquake activity in Puna

UPDATED (3:56 PM on 5/1/2018)

Hawaii County Civil Defense 4 p.m. audio message

This is a Civil Defense message for 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity for Kilauea Volcano below Pu’u O’o in Puna District.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Pu’u O’o is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, the following are issued:

  • Department of Parks and Recreation has shut down the lava viewing area in Kalapana due to the proximity to the increased hazardous activity.
  • Lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to the radio, Civil Defense text alerts and social media sites.
  • For up to date scientific information, go to active links on our Civil Defense website and the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory website.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatories and your Hawaii County Civil Defense will continuing to monitor the situation throughout the night. You will be informed as conditions change. Thank you for listening.

This is your Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency.

Recent earthquakes as of 1:28 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Map via USGS

Recent earthquakes as of 1:28 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Map via USGS

MEDIA RELEASE UPDATED (10:30 a.m. on 5/1/2018)

Volcano Crater Floor Collapses, Possible Outbreak of Lava, Viewing Area Closed

The collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has triggered increases in earthquake activity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, according to Christina Neal, scientist-in-charge at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

Neal said that seismicity was occurring as far east as Pahoa-Kalapana Road (Route 130), and warned residents of lower Puna to remain alert and watch for further information about the status of the volcano at www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-al…

“An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome,” Neal said in a statement. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”

Meanwhile, the County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area amid the possibility of an eruption, and security has been posted to ensure that no unauthorized persons enter the area.

“We don’t want people hiking in that area, which is downslope from the rift,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Maurice Messina said.

Messina said that vendors at the viewing area were told to vacate the area. He noted that the lava viewing area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore of Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurred at 2:39 Tuesday morning, the largest of a sequence of tremors along the rift zone. There is no risk of a tsunami at that magnitude.

Deformation is the term used to describe a change in the surface of a volcano, such as swelling, sinking or cracking, which can be caused by movements in the earth’s crust due to motion along faults, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

HAWAII COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE UPDATE (8:45 a.m. on 5/1/2018)

Hawaii County Civil Defense 8:45 a.m. audio message

This is a Civil Defense message for Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna district below Kilauea volcano in the area between Pu’u O’o and Pahoa-Kalapana Road (Route 130).

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Pu’u O’o is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, the following are issued:

  • Department of Parks and Recreation has shut down the lava viewing area in Kalapana due to the proximity to the increased hazardous activity.
  • Lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to the radio and Civil Defense text alerts and social media sites; this station will be updated.
  • For up to date scientific information, go to active links on our Civil Defense website

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and your Hawaii County Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation. You will be informed as conditions change. Thank you.

This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Recent earthquakes as of 8:12 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Map via USGS

Recent earthquakes as of 8:12 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Map via USGS

HAWAII COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE INFO (6 a.m. 5/1/18)

Hawaii County Civil Defense 6 a.m. audio message

This is a Civil Defense message for Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 6:15 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna district below Kilauea volcano in the area between Pu’u O’o and Pahoa-Kalapana Road (Route 130).

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Pu’u O’o is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to news media this site will be updated.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and your Hawaii County Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation. You will be informed as conditions change.

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY (4:54 a.m. 5/1/2018)

Volcanic Activity Summary:

A collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has prompted increases in seismicity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, with seismicity currently occurring as far as Pahoa-Kalapana Road (Route 130). An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.

Residents of lower Puna should remain alert and watch for further information about the status of the volcano; watch for Hawaii County Civil Defense messages at www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-al…

Recent Observations:

Between about 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 30, following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone, the crater floor at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone collapsed.

Poor weather prevented HVO from flying over the activity or seeing details of the activity in our web cameras on site.

Following the collapse, HVO seismometers and tiltmeters recorded an increase in seismic activity and deformation from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit to an area about 6-10 miles downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Overnight, this activity localized downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and continued to propagate eastward along the rift zone.

The largest earthquake of this sequence so far was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore south of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō at 2:39 a.m. this morning,

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the change at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō.

Hazard Analysis:

The migration of seismicity and deformation downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone following Monday’s collapse indicates that a large area along the East Rift Zone is potentially at risk for a new outbreak.

The location of any future outbreak will determine what areas are in the path of new lava flows.

The situation is rapidly evolving and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit. More updates will follow as information becomes available.


Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater’s floor has been slowly uplifting for several weeks. The uplift has rotated sections of the crater floor and opened hot, gaping cracks on it. Monday afternoon (April 30) part of the floor appears to have collapsed via observations from a thermal webcam located on the northwest flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and deformation graphs. Images taken Monday, April 30, 2018 courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

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