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Kīlauea

Find U.S. Volcano

Kīlauea volcano is not erupting. The most recent eruptive activity took place from September 10-16, 2023, within Kīlauea summit caldera and Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 

Quick Facts

Location: Island of Hawai‘i
Latitude: 19.421° N
Longitude: 155.287° W
Elevation: 1,222 (m) 4,009 (f)
Volcano type: Shield
Composition: Basalt
Most recent eruption: June 2023
Nearby towns: Volcano, Pāhoa, Kalapana, Mountain View
Threat Potential: Very High*

*based on the National Volcano Early Warning System

Summary

Topographically Kīlauea appears as only a bulge on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, and so for many years Kīlauea was thought to be a mere satellite of its giant neighbor, not a separate volcano. However, research over the past few decades shows clearly that Kīlauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth.

In fact, the summit of Kīlauea lies on a curving line of volcanoes that includes Mauna Kea and Kohala and excludes Mauna Loa. In other words, Kīlauea is to Mauna Kea as Kama‘ehuakanaloa (formerly Lō‘ihi) is to Mauna Loa. Hawaiians used the word Kīlauea only for the summit caldera, but earth scientists and, over time, popular usage have extended the name to include the entire volcano.

Kīlauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell in veiled form of many eruptions fomented by an angry Pele before the first European, the missionary Rev. William Ellis, saw the summit in 1823. The caldera was the site of nearly continuous activity during the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Kīlauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list.

Since 1952, Kīlauea has erupted dozens of times. From 1983 to 2018 eruptive activity was nearly continuous along the volcano's East Rift Zone. At the summit, a vent within Halema‘uma‘u hosted an active lava pond and vigorous gas plume from 2008 to 2018. In 2018, the decades-long continuous activity on the East Rift Zone ended, and the summit lava lake drained following an intrusion into, and eruption from, Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone. Several summit eruptions since December 2020 created lava lakes within Halema‘uma‘u crater, which have been slowly filling the collapsed area that formed in 2018.

News

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Volcano Watch — Another intrusion southwest of Kīlauea’s summit

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Photo and Video Chronology – Aerial and ground surveys of Kīlauea, response instrumentation

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Kīlauea Volcano Activity Notice — Status downgrade to YELLOW/ADVISORY

Publications

Modeling the occurrence of M ∼ 5 caldera collapse-related earthquakes in Kīlauea volcano, Hawai'i

During the 2018 Kīlauea eruption and caldera collapse, M ∼ 5 caldera collapse earthquakes occurred almost daily from mid-May until the beginning of August. While caldera collapses happen infrequently, the collapse-related seismicity damaged nearby structures, and so these events should be included in a complete seismic hazard assessment. Here, we present an approach to forecast the seismic hazard
Authors
Andrea L. Llenos, Andrew J. Michael

2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment

When erupting, all volcanoes pose a degree of risk to people and infrastructure, however, the risks are not equivalent from one volcano to another because of differences in eruptive style and geographic location. Assessing the relative threats posed by U.S. volcanoes identifies which volcanoes warrant the greatest risk-mitigation efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners. This update

Authors
John W. Ewert, Angela K. Diefenbach, David W. Ramsey

Volcanic investigations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, April to May 1994

A team of U.S. Geological Survey geologists, a seismologist, and technicians gathered new geologic, seismic, and deformation data in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Nine volcanic islands on the active East Mariana Ridge north of Saipan were examined between April 20 and May 3, 1994. In addition, a new radio-telemetry seismic station was installed on the island of Agrihan (

Authors
M. K. Sako, F. A. Trusdell, R. Y. Koyanagi, George Kojima, R. B. Moore

Science

Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

For more information on how electronic tiltmeters and GPS receivers help monitor the deformation of Kīlauea Volcano, see the HVO Deformation page.
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Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

For more information on how electronic tiltmeters and GPS receivers help monitor the deformation of Kīlauea Volcano, see the HVO Deformation page.
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Past Week Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

This page presents Kīlauea monitoring data collected over the past week, including summit lava lake level, earthquake rates, locations, and depths, and ground deformation data.
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Past Week Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

This page presents Kīlauea monitoring data collected over the past week, including summit lava lake level, earthquake rates, locations, and depths, and ground deformation data.
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Past Month Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

This page presents Kīlauea monitoring data collected over the past month, including summit lava lake level, earthquake rates, locations, and depths, ground deformation data and gas data.
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Past Month Monitoring Data for Kīlauea

This page presents Kīlauea monitoring data collected over the past month, including summit lava lake level, earthquake rates, locations, and depths, ground deformation data and gas data.
Learn More

Multimedia

Color photograph of caldera at the summit of volcano
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zone
Color photograph of two pit craters and a cinder cone
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zone
Color photograph of trail with cracks
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zone
Color photograph of crater with lava flows and fumarolic areas
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zone
Color photograph of volcanic cone
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zone
Color photograph of mountain
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February 6, 2024 — Aerial survey of Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system and Southwest Rift Zon
Color photograph of trail cross-cut by cracks
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Ground cracks crossing Maunaiki trail following January 31–February 2, 2024, intrusion at Kīlauea
Color photograph of ground cracks
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Ground cracks at Kīlauea following January 31–February 2, 2024 intrusion
Color photograph of scientists hiking over lava flows
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February 3, 2024 — Kīlauea Koa‘e fault system survey