volcano clock There is a weekly article and activity update written by scientists from the US Geological Survey Hawaii Volcano Observatory and allied scientists.
The weekly update summary from the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kilauea on June 1, 2021 reads: “Kilauea Volcano no longer erupts. No surface activity has been observed … It is possible that the Halema’uma’u Eruption Eruption may be re-erupting.” or Kilauea is entering a period of silence before the next eruption.”
We pick up where last week’s “Volcano Clock” article left off, with a more detailed explanation of why a quarterly window is helpful in defining the “pause” of an eruption. We will look at this from both a global (statistical) perspective and Kilauea (historical) perspective.
Smithsonian Global Volcanoes Project Maintains a database of all known volcanic eruptions. This database provides a wide range of eruption statistics, including eruption frequency and global averages of breaks. For known eruptions that have been well observed, the “pause” in activity within an eruption can typically last up to 90 days.
When a pause in activity lasts more than 90 days, it usually (but not always) becomes a prolonged period of volcanic rest and can extend from years to millennia (e.g. a sleeping stratovolcano versus an often active volcano). . Thus, each new eruption activity becomes the “next eruption”. A new eruption may begin in the same region – for example the “peak zone” – or in a different region, such as a rift zone, and must precede that volcano’s own prior disturbance.
If the eruption is required to resume activity, it will often do so within a 90-day window, and usually (but not always) lava resumes from the same vent. Looking at Kilauea’s recorded history since 1823, the Smithsonian’s period of 90 days of inactivity is largely true, with one exception. During the Maunalu eruption of 1969–74, there was a 3.5-month gap.
The next longest break on Kilauea was recorded during the first three years (1983–1986) of the Pu’uae eruption in the Middle East Rift Zone of Kilauea, where 48 short-lived eruptions of tall fountains were separated by variables. There were breaks that lasted from days to months. The longest break was between episodes 3-4 (65 days), episodes 32-33 (52 days), episodes 12-13 (50 days), episodes 39-40 (49 days), episodes 25-26 (43 days) . and episodes 31-32 (38 days). The 1959 Kilauea Iki eruption had a break between hours and several days between lava fountain episodes.
The pauses between episodic bursts during these eruptions are also referred to as “rest periods”. HVO scientists could tell that the eruption was halted simply because there were predictable patterns of rapid inflation and increased seismic activity after each fountain episode.
All other well-documented eruptions during the Kilauea eruption resumed within a month or less. Most recently, there were two breaks in the 2018 eruption of the Lower East Rift Zone at Kilauea. From May 9 to 12, 2018, the 63-hour break ended with the eruption of a new vent, Fissure 16. However, there was a 15-day pause in lava flow at Ahussela (Au (Fisher 8) in late August. Before 2018 lava appeared at Ahusailau from 1–4 September. After a period of 90 days, HVO determined that The eruption was over. Kilauea entered a 2.25-year dormancy period, which ended with the top fissure eruption at Haleumaumau Crater that began on December 20, 2020.
The recent eruption of the Kilauea peak at Halema’uma’u is said to have stopped on 27 May, after no visible lava, no increase in the lake surface, and a reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. . If the hiatus continues until August 24, it could mean that this eruption is over.
The Halema’uma’u Crater – home of the Hawaiian volcano god Pele – has had several eruptions in the past. The continued diligent monitoring of Kilauea by HVO will inform us in the coming months whether the eruption will continue or whether we will have to wait longer for the next eruption to begin. Rest between eruptions can last for months to decades on Kilauea, and the HVO keeps a close eye on Kilauea Volcano for signs of renewed activity.
Volcano Activity Update
The volcano Kilauea does not erupt. The USGS is at the Volcano Alert Level Advisory (https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels). Klauea updates are released weekly.
The lava flow at Halemaumau’s lava lake has stopped and sulfur dioxide emissions have dropped to nearly background levels before the eruption. Peak tilt meters recorded light, oscillating deflation-inflation cycles during the past week. Seismicity has remained generally stable, with a slight increase in earthquakes and aftershocks over the past week. There is currently no indication that a resumption of volcanic activity is imminent. Kilauea remains an active volcano and future eruptions are possible at the summit or elsewhere on the volcano. For more information on current monitoring of the volcano Kilauea, visit: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/monitoring.
Mauna Loa does not erupt and the volcano remains on alert level advisory. This level of alarm does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that the progress of an eruption from the current level of disturbance is certain. Mauna Loa updates are released weekly.
About 55 minor earthquakes were recorded under Mauna Loa in the past week; Most of these occurred below the summit and upper elevations at depths of less than 8 kilometers (about 5 mi). Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements show fewer distortions in the top region over the past week. The gas concentration and fumarole temperature remain constant at both the summit and the sulfur cone in the Southwest Rift Zone. The webcam does not show the landscape change. For more information on current monitoring of Mauna Loa Volcano, visit: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/monitoring.
There were 4 events with 3 or more felt in the Hawaiian Islands last week: the 42 km (26 mi) ESE earthquake of Nalehu at a depth of 10 km (6 mi) on June 2 at 6:44 pm HST. , a M2.8 earthquake 5 km (3 mi) SSW of the volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on June 2 at 4:14 pm HST, a M3.4 earthquake 10 km (6 mi) NE on 32 km earlier (20 mi) depth on May 31 at 5:59 a.m. HST, and a 3.2 earthquake 18 km (11 mi) WNW Kalaoa on May 29 at 11:13 a.m. HST at 42 km (26 mi) depth.
HVO continues to closely monitor both Kilauea and Mauna Loa for signs of increased activity.
Visit HVO’s website for past Volcano Watch articles, updates on Kilauea and Mauna Loa, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake information, and more. Email Inquiry: [email protected].
The Volcano Watch is a weekly article and activity update written by scientists and affiliated scientists at the US Geological Survey Hawaii Volcano Observatory.