The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano, within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, has been paused since March 7, 2023. Lava is no longer flowing on the crater floor. Resumption of eruptive activity may occur in the near future with little or no warning.
This is an exciting time on Kīlauea Volcano because there have been several summit eruptions following the 2018 summit collapse. After the December 2020-May 2021 Halemaʻumaʻu eruption ended, Kīlauea summit region continued to slowly inflate. In August 2021, increased earthquake activity and patterns of ground deformation indicated that an intrusion was occurring and magma was moving into an area south of Kīlauea caldera. However, no eruption occurred, and the shallow Halemaʻumaʻu magma reservoir continued to measure inflation. On September 29, 2021, earthquake activity increased abruptly beneath Halemaʻumaʻu around 2 p.m. HST, and at 3:21 p.m. a series of vents opened in the floor and walls of Halemaʻumaʻu crater, generating a lava lake. The eruption continued for over a year until lava supply to the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake ceased on December 9, 2022. The pause in eruptive activity didn't last long, though, and at approximately 4:34 p.m. HST on January 5, 2023, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected glow in Kīlauea summit webcam images indicating that another eruption had begun within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The eruption was brief compared to the previous two eruptions in Halemaʻumaʻu crater, lasting about three months. Lava was most recently observed at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater on March 7, 2023. Kīlauea updates are posted daily here.
Preliminary Eruption Chronology
September 29, 2021, 3:21 p.m. HST: Eruption begins as a series of fissure vents to the east of the large island that formed in the December 2020-May 2021 lava lake.
September 29, 2021, 4:43 p.m. HST: Another vent opens in the west wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater
October 4, 2021: Activity becomes focused at two vents: one in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu and one in the south central portion of the lava lake
October 6, 2021: Eastern portion of lava lake begins to stagnate and form a crust
October 7, 2021: Activity becomes focused at single vent on the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu
November 16, 2021: Lava begins to flow onto the lowest exposed down-dropped block of caldera floor that collapsed in 2018, northeast of Halemaʻumaʻu.
December 2021 - March 2022: Eruption pauses 24 times, over time periods ranging from approximately two hours to nearly two days. During each pause, the active lava lake surface would drop.
Late January 2022: Spatter cones appear on the solidified surface of eastern portion of the crater floor.
December 9, 2022: Lava supply to the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake ceases and the eruption ends.
January 5, 2023. 4:34 p.m. HST: Eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu begins, with vent activity focused in the east (vs previously the west) part of the crater floor.
March 7, 2023: Eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu pauses.
March 11, 2023: Intrusion occurs in Kīlauea summit region.
Monitoring Lava Lake Depth
A continuous laser rangefinder was installed on the western rim of Halemaʻumaʻu crater within a closed area of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, under a National Park Service permit, on January 8, 2021. This instrument autonomously measures lava lake elevation in real time, using the light-reflecting properties of the lava surface.