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Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for October 25, 2018

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

On October 18 at 10:18 a.m. HST, scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory practiced "Drop, Cover, Hold on!"—the best actions to take during an earthquake to prevent injuries—during the Great Hawaii ShakeOut. Since 1868, more than 30 magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled the Hawaiian Islands—most recently on May 4, 2018 (M6.9)—so it's important for Hawaii residents to know (and practice) what to do when the ground shakes. The Great Hawaii ShakeOut is an annual earthquake awareness and preparedness event held on the third Thursday of October. For more info on earthquake safety, please visit https://www.shakeout.org/hawaii/. On October 18 at 10:18 a.m. HST, scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory practiced “Drop, Cover, Hold on!”—the best actions to take during an earthquake to prevent injuries—during the Great Hawaii ShakeOut. Since 1868, more than 30 magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled the Hawaiian Islands—most recently on May 4, 2018 (M6.9)—so it’s important for Hawaii residents to know (and practice) what to do when the ground shakes. The Great Hawaii ShakeOut is an annual earthquake awareness and preparedness event held on the third Thursday of October. For more info on earthquake safety, please visit www.shakeout.org/hawaii/.%5B/c…


Time-lapse movie of a research camera positioned northeast of the Fissure 8 cone, looking into the crater. October 18-25, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse panorama of the Kīlauea Caldera Wide Angle from HVO Observation Tower. October 18-25, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

Kīlauea is not erupting. Summit and East Rift Zone activity is greatly reduced, with low rates of seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions recorded this past week.

Small earthquakes at Kīlauea’s summit and aftershocks of the May 4th magnitude-6.9 earthquake on the volcano’s south flank continue.

A slight inflationary trend near and east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō suggests that magma may be refilling the middle East Rift Zone. Low seismicity and reduced gas emissions do not indicate that the magma is shallow, but HVO continues to closely monitor this area and will report any significant changes.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions across Kīlauea remain drastically reduced, with a combined rate of less than 300 tonnes/day. Small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) are also being released in cooler, wetter volcanic environments, and from decaying vegetation and other organic matter. The human nose is extremely sensitive to the “rotten egg” smell of H2S; some people can detect this gas at less than 0.001 parts per million. Residents have reported smelling H2S downwind of Kīlauea, but these concentrations are well below hazardous levels. More info: ivhhn.org/information#gas.

Hazardous conditions still exist at both the LERZ and summit. Residents in the lower Puna District and Kīlauea summit areas on the Island of Hawaiʻi should stay informed and heed Hawai‘i County Civil Defense closures, warnings, and messages (www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-al…).

The USGS Volcano Alert level for Mauna Loa remains at NORMAL. Since late September, microearthquakes have been recorded beneath upper elevations of the volcano. Because there have been no changes in deformation or gas emissions that would indicate shallowing of magma, these microearthquakes do not warrant increased concern about potential eruption. HVO continues to closely watch this seismicity and monitor the volcano for any other changes.

One earthquake with three or more felt reports occurred in Hawaii this past week: a magnitude-3.8 quake 17 km (11 mi) southeast of Volcano at 7 km (4 mi) depth on October 20 at 2:40 p.m. HST.

Please visit HVO’s website (volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake info, and more. Call 808-967-8862 for weekly Kīlauea updates. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

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