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Volcano Awareness Month 2022 Volcanic Gas Update — The ups and downs of Kīlauea’s gas emissions in 2021

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Incredibly high sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates were measured during the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea in 2018—nearly 200,000 tonnes per day. Emissions dropped to only about 30 tonnes per day during Kīlauea’s non-eruptive quiet period from 2018–2020. Unlike the 2008 Kīlauea summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u, which was preceded by elevated SO2 emissions, an eruption began in Halema‘uma‘u in December 2020 with no preceding volcanic gas emissions. SO2 emission rates just after the eruption started ranged up to 30,000–40,000 tonnes per day, though those rates decreased in the following days. A similar pattern was observed during the onset of the ongoing Kīlauea summit eruption, which began at the end of September 2021.

Join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Patricia Nadeau as she summarizes emission rates and degassing during Kīlauea’s December 2020 summit eruption, the first few months of the ongoing Kīlauea summit eruption that began in September 2021, and the quiet period between them. This talk is presented as part of Volcano Awareness Month, which is spearheaded by the USGS–Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Volcano Awareness Month provides informative and engaging public programs about the science and hazards of Hawaiian volcanoes. Photo caption: An HVO scientist aims the ‘field FTIR’ at spattering lava from the eruption in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit, on October 4, 2021. USGS photo by P. Nadeau.




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