Kilauea eruption continues in Hawaii – Seismicity and volcanic gas elevated – Multiple vents – Lava confined within crater

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Kilauea volcanic eruption update for October 1 2021

Kīlauea volcano is erupting since September 29, 2021, again… Lava continues to erupt from multiple vents along the floor and western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. As of this afternoon all lava activity is confined within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Seismicity and volcanic gas emission rates remain elevated.

New Kilauea eruption: Summit observations

Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain high and were estimated at around 85,000 tonnes per day just after the eruption started, yesterday afternoon at 3:21 p.m. HST.

Seismicity is elevated but stable, with few earthquakes and ongoing volcanic tremor. Summit tiltmeters continued to record slowing deflationary tilt through this afternoon.

Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake observations

The lava lake has been rising approximately one meter (yard) an hour since the eruption began.

The lava lake has not exhibited widespread circulation overnight, with localized and discontinuous areas of crustal foundering (a process by which cool lava crust on the surface of the lava lake is overridden by less-dense liquid from below causing the crust to sink into the underlying lake lava).

The maximum fountain height so far, observed yesterday, was estimated to be 25-30 m (82-98 ft) high, though most fountains are currently only a few meters (yards) high.

East Rift Zone Observations

No unusual activity has been noted in the Kīlauea East Rift Zone. Ground deformation motion suggests that refilling of the upper East Rift Zone – between the summit and Puʻuʻōʻo – may have slowed slightly since the recent August intrusion.

SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.

New Kilauea eruption hazards

This new eruption at Kīlauea’s summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects down-wind.

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.

Additional hazards include Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from the lava fountains that will fall downwind of the fissure vents and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the 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 Kīlauea caldera rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since late 2007.

Visitors to Hawai’i 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 dustings of ash 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.

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