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What’s happening at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit?

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Kīlauea Volcano's summit has been in an eruptive pause since the 2018 events ended over a year ago. Nevertheless, it remains a dynamic place. Ongoing inflation and seismicity indicate that the summit magma chamber is gradually recharging. A water lake, unprecedented in the written historical record, appeared at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u in late July 2019 and has steadily risen. What are the potential hazards at Kīlauea’s summit? Could explosive activity return? What is known about the water lake? How is it monitored? USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists Matt Patrick and Tricia Nadeau answer these questions and more in this Volcano Awareness Month talk presented on January 14, 2020. Volcano Awareness Month is spearheaded by the USGS–Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and provides informative and engaging public programs about the science and hazards of Hawaiian volcanoes. Photo caption: Crater lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano as it appeared on October 19, 2019. USGS photo by M. Patrick.




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