Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for May 17, 2018

Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. May 10-17, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

Time-lapse movie of A panorama of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent Wide Angle from HVO Observation Tower. May 16-17, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

Time-lapse movie of Kīlauea Caldera from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. May 10-17, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

Time-lapse movie of Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone in Puna. The camera is positioned near Kapoho looking Northwest. From left to right on the horizon, one can see Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent near the left edge of the image, the gas plume from Halemaʻumaʻu crater (when clear enough), with Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea farther to the right. May 10-17, 2018. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

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

On Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone, low-level eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the active fissure system. Residents in the lower Puna District of Hawaiʻi Island should remain informed and heed Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense closures, warnings, and messages (www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-al…). At Kῑlauea’s summit, an explosion, or series of explosions, from the Overlook vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater on May 17, produced a volcanic cloud that reached as high as 30,000 feet above sea level. The cloud drifted generally northeast and traces of ash fell in areas around Kῑlauea’s summit. Summit activity could again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles close to the vent. Communities downwind should be prepared for ashfall as long as this activity continues.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Rates of deformation and seismicity have not changed significantly over the past week. The number of monthly and weekly earthquakes recorded beneath the volcano has decreased to near background levels.

Twenty earthquakes were reported felt in Hawaii during the past week. Some were aftershocks associated with the magnitude-6.9 earthquake on May 4, but many others were related to continued deflation at Kīlauea’s summit and with the ongoing intrusion of magma into the volcano’s East Rift Zone. Additional felt earthquakes should be expected in the coming days to weeks.

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