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Recent Eruption

Kīlauea volcano is erupting. 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 the eruption has resumed within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Color photograph of volcanic vent and bird
A Koa‘e Kea (white-tailed tropicbird) flies above the erupting west vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater, at the summit of Kīlauea. Photo taken from the south rim of Halema‘uma‘u at 10:41 a.m. HST on Oct. 8, 2021. USGS photo by J.M. Chang. 

This is an exciting time on Kīlauea Volcano because lava has returned to the summit 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. Lava supply to the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake ceased on December 9, 2022, and the eruption paused. 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. 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. 
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory KWcam at Kīlauea's summit has captured changes within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at Kīlauea's summit, due to the eruption that began on September 29, 2021. At approximately 3:21 pm, HST, new fissures opened at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. These fissures opened east of the large island near the center of the lava lake that was active within Halemaʻumaʻu crater from December 2020 until May 2021. The first image was taken on September 29, 2021, just before the eruption began; the second image was taken the morning of October 4, 2021, just before 6 a.m. HST and shows the continuing eruption and growing lava lake. Near-real-time images captured by the KWcam are available here: /volcanoes/kilauea/kwcam-live-panorama-halema-uma-u-.... USGS webcam images. 

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.   

Remote image Url
Graph showing the depth of lava (in meters) in Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea volcano's summit, from September 2021 and on. 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 when the eastern portion reaches a depth of 267 meters/876 ft (equal to an elevation of 790 meters/2592 ft above sea level). Note that the eastern portion of the lake is lower than the western portion, where the active vent is located and where the laser rangefinder is pointed. See the Kīlauea daily updates for measurements of the differences in elevation of different portions of the lake. 

Monitoring Kīlauea Summit Gas Emissions

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, downwind of Halema‘uma‘u, generally within and south 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.

See additional Kīlauea monitoring data

 

Latest eruption maps

See additional maps on the Kīlauea Maps Page

Color map of lava lake temperature
A helicopter overflight on February 2, 2023, allowed for aerial visual and thermal imagery to be collected of Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea. The largest lava lake is located in the eastern portion of the crater, though lava has also filled the areas previously active in the western portion of the crater. The scale of the thermal map ranges from blue to red, with blue colors indicative of cooler temperatures and red colors indicative of warmer temperatures. 
Color map of eruption at summit of volcano
This reference map depicts the Kīlauea summit eruption on February 3, 2023. Recent HVO helicopter overflights have been unable to produce accurate structure-from-motion models of the Halema‘uma‘u crater floor due to the thick volcanic gas plume; for this reason, no updated statistics can be provided for the average crater floor elevation or the erupted lava volume. Since thermal images can see through the plume, updated eruptive features were digitized from thermal images captured during the HVO overflight on February 2. The extent of the active lava lake—the area in red—is 26 acres (11 hectares). The full extent of new lava from this eruption, totaling both the active lava lake (red) and flows that have crusted over (pink), is 294 acres (119 hectares). Also included here are west to east topographic profiles across the caldera. Profiles are provided for the periods before the 2018 caldera collapse (orange), shortly after the 2018 collapse (gray), the December 2020–May 2021 eruption (brown), the September 2021–December 2022 eruption (red), and the current eruption (pink) as last modelled from the HVO overflight on January 17. Also shown is the maximum depth of the 2019–20 Halema‘uma‘u water lake (blue). 

 

 

This eruption is taking place within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Please visit the Park website to learn more about their operations.  

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