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December 2020 - March 2023 Summit Eruptions

After the 2018 summit collapse, Kīlauea volcano was quiet until an eruption began within Halema‘uma‘u crater on December 20, 2020, at about 9:30 p.m. HST. The eruption was one of several recent eruptions at Kīlauea's summit. 

The December 2020 eruption began as fissures in the walls of Halema‘uma‘u crater. The water lake that had been present at the base of the crater was quickly boiled away and replaced by a lava lake. The eruption lasted approximately five months, with active lava on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u last observed on May 23, 2021.

Another Kīlauea summit eruption within Halema‘uma‘u crater began on September 29, 2021, and continued until December 9, 2022. The activity was nearly “continuous,” though there were multiple occasions when lava was not flowing on the surface. During the late fall and winter of 2021–2022, the eruption would episodically pause for periods lasting from hours to days. These pauses typically occurred in conjunction with deflation-inflation (DI) events in the summit magma reservoir, as recorded by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) tiltmeters in the region. 

Following a brief month without active lava, another eruption began at the base of Halema‘uma‘u crater on January 5, 2023, which continued until March 7, 2023. 


Color photograph of volcano summit
This image, taken from the KWcam around 11 am on May 27, 2021, shows the lava lake that partially filled Halemaʻumaʻu crater from December 2020-May 2021.. 

December 2020–May 2021 eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater 


  • Lava lake filled 229 meters (752 ft), to an elevation of 747 m (2450 ft) asl 

  • 41 million cubic meters (11 billion gallons) of lava erupted 

  • 112 acres (45 hectares) surface area of crater floor 

  • Filled 5% of the volume of the 2018 collapse


September 2021–December 2022 eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater 


  • Lava lake filled 143 m (469 ft), to an elevation of 886 m (2907 ft) asl 

  • 110.8 million cubic meters (29.3 billion gallons) of lava erupted 

  • 295 acres (119 hectares) surface area of crater floor 

  • Filled about 14% of the volume of the 2018 collapse 

Color photograph of crater floor
Geologists conducted a monitoring overflight of Kīlauea summit on the morning of December 10, 2022. They noted that the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater was mostly solidified, though incandescence was visible. USGS image by J. Bard. 


January 2023–March 2023 eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater 


  • Lava lake filled 13 meters (43 ft), to an elevation of 900 m (2953 ft) asl 

  • 16.5 million cubic meters (4.4 billion gallons) of lava erupted 

  • 292 acres (118 hectares) surface area of crater floor 

  • Filled about 2% of the volume of the 2018 collapse 


The data plots below show rise of Halema‘uma‘u crater floor and sulfur dioxide emissions since December 2020. 

Remote image Url
Graph showing lava depth (in meters) that has filled Halema‘uma‘u crater, at Kīlauea volcano's summit, after the 2018 collapse, since December 2020. On January 8, 2021, a novel laser rangefinder was stationed at Kīlauea volcano's summit. The fixed instrument continuously measures the distance to a location on the western lava lake surface, and telemeters data to HVO in real time. The raw data has been edited for this graph, with a running mean average filter of 3600 seconds. Variations in plotted depth can occur due to laser rangefinder returns on gas rather than the lava surface.For reference, the base of Halema‘uma‘u after the 2018 collapse event is “zero” on this plot (equal to an elevation of 518 meters/1699 ft above sea level). Post-eruption analyses indicate that the December 2020–May 2021 lava lake filled the base of Halema‘uma‘u to a depth of 223 meters/732 ft (equal to an elevation of approximately 741 meters/2431 ft above sea level). The ongoing eruption is adding to that lava depth. Lava will overflow Halema‘uma‘u, onto the lowest down-dropped block, at a depth of 267 meters/876 ft (equal to an elevation of 790 meters/2592 ft above sea level).
Remote image Url
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates measured using an upward-looking ultraviolet spectrometer. These data are collected by traversing the gas plume in a vehicle or helicopter, downwind of Halema‘uma‘u, generally within and/or southwest of Kīlauea caldera. Results from multiple traverses during a day are averaged to yield the emission rates shown here. Successful measurements depend on wind, weather, and staff availability. Values are preliminary and are subject to revision.

Latest eruption map

See additional maps on the Kīlauea Maps Page

Color map of lava lake at volcano summit
This map of Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea shows 20 m (66 ft) contour lines (dark gray) that mark locations of equal elevation above sea level (asl). The map shows that the lava lake filled 229 m (752 ft) of the crater, to an elevation of 747 m (2450 ft) asl, from the beginning of the eruption on December 20, 2020, through May 13, 2021. Over this period, a total of 41 million cubic meters (11 billion gallons) of lava was erupted into the crater, filling approximately 5 percent of the volume that collapsed within the caldera during the 2018 eruption. The graphic at the bottom shows topographic profiles from west to east across the caldera before 2018, shortly after 2018, and as of May 13, 2021, along with the 2019-2020 Halema‘uma‘u water lake. The last activity on the lava lake surface was observed on May 23 and on May 26, 2021, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowered the Volcano Alert Level for ground-based hazards from WATCH to ADVISORY and the Aviation Color Code from ORANGE to YELLOW. USGS map.

"Volcano Watch" articles relevant to Kīlauea's recent summit eruption

Additional resources related to the eruption:


Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park remains open with COVID restrictions. However, the Jaggar area is closed. Please visit the Park website to learn more about their operations. 

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