Unified Interior Regions

Hawaii

The Pacific Region has nine USGS Science Centers in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

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Color photograph of volcanic vent,  lava lake, and islands
February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021 — Kīlauea

The lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active. Active surface lava remains limited to the western portion of the lake, shown here. Ongoing summit deflation has been associated with a slight drop in the lake level, now a few meters below the rim of the levee. The western fissure cone is in the upper left corner of the photo, and inlet where

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February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021 — Kīlauea

An HVO geologist uses a sketch in their fieldbook to note the location of laser rangefinder measurements of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. Using the laser rangefinder, HVO geologists can derive the elevation of various spots on the lava lake surface, and are able to track how the elevation of features within the lava lake change over time.

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HVO geologists use a laser rangefinder to measure the distance to the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake
February 19, 2021

Halema‘uma‘u lava lake observations, Kīlauea summit February 19

HVO geologists use a laser rangefinder to measure the distance to the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake, and other eruptive features, at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. These lava lake measurements are used to help calculate the depth, volume, and how it has evolved throughout the eruption. The stagnant eastern portion of the lava lake is visible in the lower-left. USGS photo taken by

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Active surface lava has been limited to the western portion of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea
February 17, 2021

Views of Kīlauea's summit lava lake on February 17

Active surface lava has been limited to the western portion of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. This photo shows a large portion of this western zone. The surface is composed of a patchwork of small, angular crustal plates separated by darker spreading zones. USGS photo taken by M. Patrick on February 17, 2021.

Lava continues to erupt from the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea
February 17, 2021

Spatter visible at the west vent on Wednesday morning, February 17

Lava continues to erupt from the west vent in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea. On Wednesday morning, February 17, small pieces of spatter were occasionally ejected from the vent, landing on the slope below. This type of activity has decreased significantly over the past several weeks. Lava from the west vent continues to enter the lava lake at an inlet near the base

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February 17, 2021

Lava Enters Halema‘uma‘u Lava Lake, Kīlauea Summit (Feb 17, 2021)

This video shows a close-up of the small inlet where lava enters the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. The inlet consists of a small upwelling zone, with lava rapidly developing a thin flexible crust as it moves away from the source.

The lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active.
February 17, 2021

Views of Kīlauea's summit lava lake on February 17

The lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea, remains active. The active lava was retained by a levee several meters (yards) high along the west margin. The levee is formed from numerous small rafted crustal plates that have stacked upon one another, and likely fused together. USGS photo taken by M. Patrick on February 17, 2021.

This photo shows a close-up of the inlet along the western margin of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea summit
February 17, 2021

Views of Kīlauea's summit lava lake on February 17

This photo shows a close-up of the inlet along the western margin of the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Lava originating at the small upwelling zone rapidly develops a thin flexible crust as it moves away from the source. A small island also has been present just south of the inlet. USGS photo taken by M. Patrick on February 17, 2021.

Overflight photo of erupting western fissure in Halema‘uma‘u, February 16, 2021
February 16, 2021

Overflight photo of western fissure in Halema‘uma‘u—Kīlauea summit

This photo of the erupting western fissure in Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea was captured during a helicopter overflight on the morning of Tuesday, February 16. The degassing cone was not visibly spattering during the overflight, but the lava inlet near the base of the cone is evidence of continued effusion into the lava lake. USGS photo taken by M. Zoeller.

On Friday, February 12, HVO scientists hiked along the rim of Halema‘uma‘u to capture photos of the lava lake
February 12, 2021

View of Halema‘uma‘u lava lake from the northwest, February 12, 2021

On Friday, February 12, HVO scientists hiked along the rim of Halema‘uma‘u to capture photos of the lava lake from different vantage points. In this photo from the northwest rim, the active western fissure is tucked into the lower-right corner of the crater. The actively circulating western portion of the lava lake (lower-right) and the stagnant eastern portion (upper-left

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Panorama of 2018 Kīlauea collapse features from the southeast, February 12, 2021
February 12, 2021

Panorama of 2018 Kīlauea collapse features from the southeast—Feb. 12

While hiking along the rim of the 2018 collapse at the summit of Kīlauea on Friday, February 12, HVO scientists visited a site to the southeast of Halema‘uma‘u known as Akanikōlea—a culturally-significant place that is featured in Hawaiian legends. Though the lava lake from the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u is not visible from here, Akanikōlea afforded an excellent wide

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This photo shows the southwest region of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit.
February 12, 2021

Southwest region of the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake—Kīlauea summit

This photo shows the southwest region of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea summit. Foundering of the active lava lake surface crust—a common process where liquid lava overrides and submerges crust—was observed by HVO scientists on February 12. Several rockfall deposits from the Halema‘uma‘u crater walls are visible on the stagnant lava lake margin (upper-

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inferred rupture area
October 11, 2018

On May 4, 2018, a powerful magnitude-6.9 earthquake on the south flank of Kīlauea Volcano shook the Island of Hawai‘i. It was the largest quake in Hawaii in 43 years. Today, more than five months later, smaller-magnitude earthquakes in the same area are still occurring.

USGS
October 9, 2018

Data Release: Volcanic ash leachate and rainwater chemistry from increased 2018 activity of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi

Volcano Craters
October 4, 2018

My 37-year stint with the U.S. Geological Survey—16 years at the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) and 21 at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)—ends this month.

a tiltmeter is ready for installation
September 27, 2018

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) uses a diverse set of instruments to monitor active volcanoes in Hawaii. These include seismometers, gas sensors, Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, and webcams. Each provides a unique type of data critical to understanding volcanic systems.

thumbnail image of Preliminary summary of Kīlauea Volcano’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse
September 27, 2018

Overview of Kīlauea Volcano's activity from April 30 through September 22, 2018.

Thinly bedded Kīlauea explosion deposits
September 20, 2018

The limited collapse of the inner part of Kīlauea Volcano's caldera this summer fell well short of the larger summit-wide collapses that occurred in the past. How many such limited collapses can we recognize at Kīlauea before written records were kept? The answer is none.

seismologists install a nodal geophone on Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone
September 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano's 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse provided a rare opportunity to study dynamic eruptive processes beneath and at the surface of the volcano.

lava is rapidly advancing through communities
September 6, 2018

In 1902, Thomas A. Jaggar, a geologist and founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), visited the scene of one of the most deadly volcanic disasters in modern history: Mount Pelee on the Caribbean Island of Martinique.

geophysicist downloads data at a temporary GPS station
August 30, 2018

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has an extensive network of instruments that helps us monitor how the ground deforms due to magma moving underground. However, we are fortunate that scientific colleagues also pitched in to support our responses to Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption and summit collapse.

Before and after views of a water fall.  First shows light flow of water over the falls, the second shows heavy flow.
August 24, 2018

Editor’s note: This article will be updated online with more information on the USGS response to Hurricane Lane as it becomes available.

50,000 tons of sulfur dioxide gas per day
August 23, 2018

Many Island of Hawai‘i residents are familiar with the volcanic air pollution known as "vog." The main culprit in the formation of vog is sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) released from Kīlauea's eruptions (see vog.ivhhn.org/what-vog for more information).

Nighttime scene from shipboard of lava entering the Pacific Ocean
August 16, 2018

The visible part of Kīlauea from the summit to the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) makes up only a small portion of the total volcano. Much of Kīlauea lies beneath the sea, including the Puna ridge to the east, and the south flank extending offshore beyond the southern coastline.