Categorized | Sci-Tech

Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for week of Aug. 12

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

There were two short-lived breakouts close to the end of Highway 130 during the first part of the week. These breakouts posed no threat to the nearby Kalapana Gardens subdivision.

By Thursday, Aug. 19, however, a prolonged deflation at Kilauea’s summit caused nearly all surface flows to stall, and the amount of lava reaching the ocean at Puhi-o-Kalaikini decreased substantially. The ocean entry plume is expected to return to normal size, and surface flow activity may resume once the deflation ends and the volcano re-inflates.

At Kilauea’s summit, a circulating lava pond deep in the collapse pit within the floor of Halemaumau Crater was visible via the Webcam throughout the past week. The lava surface rose and fell slowly to match the series of deflation/inflation cycles recorded at the summit. In addition, the lava surface rose abruptly on several occasions.

These periods of high lava level were short-lived, lasting only up to several hours, and ended with a sudden drop of the lava surface back to its previous level. Volcanic gas emissions remain elevated, resulting in high concentrations of sulfur dioxide downwind.

One earthquake beneath Hawaii Island was reported felt during the last week. A magnitude-3.8 earthquake occurred at 11:52 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 18 and was located 7 km (5 miles) west of Kalapana at a depth of 10 km (6 miles).

Visit the HVO Web site ( for detailed Kilauea and Mauna Loa activity updates, recent volcano photos, recent earthquakes, and more; call (808) 967-8862 for a Kilauea summary; email questions to

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