USGS HVO Volcanic Activity Notice — Kilauea ORANGE/WATCH status change to RED/WARNING.Kīlauea is erupting. Eruption has commenced within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera.

Release Date:

HVO Kilauea RED/WARNING - ORANGE/WATCH status change to RED/WARNING.Kīlauea is erupting. Eruption has commenced within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera.

HVO/USGS Volcanic Activity Notice

Volcano: Kilauea (VNUM #332010)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Previous Volcano Alert Level: WATCH

Current Aviation Color Code: RED
Previous Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Issued: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 3:42 PM HST
Source: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Notice Number: 2021/H262
Location: N 19 deg 25 min W 155 deg 17 min
Elevation: 4091 ft (1247 m)
Area: Hawaii

Volcanic Activity Summary: Kīlauea volcano is erupting. At approximately 3:20 p.m. HST on September 29, 2021, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detected glow in Kīlauea summit webcam images indicating that an eruption has commenced within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater generating lava flows on the surface of the lava lake that was active until May 2021.

The US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is elevating Kīlauea’s volcano alert level to from WATCH to WARNING and its aviation color code from ORANGE to RED as this new eruption and associated hazards are evaluated.   The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses.

USGS volcano alert levels and aviation color codes are explained here: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels

The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic and uncertain. HVO continues to monitor the volcano closely and will report any significant changes in future notices. 

Stay informed about Kīlauea by following volcano updates and tracking current monitoring data on the HVO web page (https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/volcano-updates) or by signing up to receive updates by email at this site: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/. 

HVO is in constant communication with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as this situation evolves. The eruption is currently taking place entirely within the closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 

HVO is in constant communication with the County of Hawai‘i Civil Defense Agency. 

Recent Observations:
[Volcanic cloud height] None.
[Other volcanic cloud information] None.
[Lava flow/dome] None.
[Ballistics] None.
[Lava flow] Lava flows within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera

Remarks: HVO scientists will continue to monitor Kīlauea volcano closely and will issue additional messages as warranted by changing activity. Stay informed about Kīlauea by following volcano updates and tracking current monitoring data on the HVO web page (https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/volcano-updates) or by signing up to receive updates by email at this site: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.

More Information:
Kīlauea activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862
Kīlauea webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams
Kīlauea photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/photo-video-chronology
Kīlauea lava-flow maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/maps
Kīlauea FAQs: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/faqs

Hazard Analysis: 

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 will react 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. For more information on gas hazards at the summit of Kīlauea, please see: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20173017. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/. 

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. 

For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, please see: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards

Please see the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website for visitor information: https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm. 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. 

Contacts: askHVO@usgs.gov

Next Notice: The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea's seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any changes in activity. HVO will now issue daily Kīlauea updates until further notice.

Subscribe to these messages:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes

Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi.