Categorized | Featured, Sci-Tech, Volcano

Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for September 19, 2019

This image is from a temporary monitoring camera on the west rim of Kilauea Caldera. The camera is looking E towards the bottom of the newly enlarged Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The crater from left to right (roughly NNE to SSW) is approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) across. The depth of the crater in the visible image from the rim is several hundred meters.
This image is from a temporary monitoring camera on the west rim of Kilauea Caldera. The camera is looking E towards the bottom of the newly enlarged Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The crater from left to right (roughly NNE to SSW) is approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) across. The depth of the crater in the visible image from the rim is several hundred meters.

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

Kῑlauea Volcano is not erupting and its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at NORMAL (volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/about_a…). Updates for Kīlauea are now issued monthly. 

Kīlauea deformation and seismicity showed no notable changes over the past week. Sulfur dioxide emission rates are low at the summit and below detection limits at Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ). The water pond at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u continues to slowly expand and deepen.

At or near the 2018 LERZ eruptive fissures, elevated ground temperatures and minor releases of gas (steam, tiny amounts of hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide) persist. These are typical post-eruption conditions and are expected to be long-term.

Hazards remain at the LERZ and summit of Kīlauea. Closures and warnings in these areas should be heeded. The 2018 lava flows are primarily on private property; please be respectful and do not enter or park on private property.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at ADVISORY. This alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to an eruption is certain. 


This past week, about 90 small-magnitude earthquakes (all less than M2.5) were detected beneath the upper elevations of Mauna Loa. Deformation measurements show continued summit inflation. Changes in volcanic gas emission and fumarole temperature readings this past week were due to HVO maintenance on the instrument sensors.

A brief data gap from GPS station MOKP was due to a malfunctioning receiver that has now been replaced. Data from other instruments allowed HVO to continue monitoring the volcano until the repair was made.

Mauna Loa updates are issued weekly. For more info on the status of the volcano, please go to: volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/m…


One earthquake with three or more felt reports occurred in Hawaii this past week: a magnitude-2.5 quake 12 km (7 mi) southwest of Leilani Estates at 4 km (2 mi) depth on Sept. 11 at 4:47 p.m. HST.

HVO continues to closely monitor both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa for any signs of increased activity. 

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. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

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