The following is a transcript for the video article above.
Scientists continue to keep an eye on the eruption of Kīlauea volcano in Hawaiʻi island.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the activity is stable, as lava from the west vent continues to supply the summit crater with lava.
All the activity is confined to the summit, with no signs the eruption is migrating down rift.
The vigor of the eruption appears tied to ongoing inflation and deflation cycles recorded at the summit. During times of inflation, the eruptive activity is more robust.
As of the morning of February 8, the western, active portion of the lava lake was about 215 meters deep, or 705 feet, with the eastern portion of the lava lake solidified at the surface.
Sulphur dioxide emission rates remain elevated, with the most recent measurements at about 2,200 t/d.
Seismicity is also elevated, but stable. Following a Magnitude 4.1 earthquake that jolted East Hawaiʻi, one week ago… scientists wrote about the seismicity in it’s weekly Volcano Watch article.
Kīlauea’s south flank was the site of 5 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater in the past year.
HVO says these earthquakes are happening in response to abrupt motion of the detachment fault – located at the interface between Kīlauea Volcano and the ocean floor – which moves to the southeast over the oceanic crust. The abrupt motion releases pressure on the south flank that is caused by magma accumulation beneath the surface.
The elevated rates of motion on the fault are to be expected, following the large Magnitude 6.9 earthquake that occurred in May 2018 during the onset of the eruption of Kilauea on the lower East Rift Zone.
These and other Hawaiʻi island earthquakes were discussed in greater detail during a recent Volcano Awareness Month presentation.
PETER DOTRAY, USGS HVO: “A pretty clear indicator they’re not migrating through the rift… these are really south flank, sort of that detachment faulting events. Then here, if we sort of focus and look at the lower East Rift, you see it’s very quiet. It’s really been known migrating activity out there. A few micro seismic events. A couple of moderately sized events. We’ve had a handful of felt reports, but very small and very quiet. And over here you can see we have this histogram these are weekly counts. It stayed pretty consistent until the recent activity. With Kīlauea summit being as quiet as it is, it’s really just mostly the south flank activity we’re seeing over the past month. And then finally, the Pāhala seismicity catches a lot of attention, including ours. We’re focused on this area because the activity has really picked up. But the activity stays at these 25 to 40 kilometers depths. You see some of the shallow activity up here, but it’s a very separate activity. You don’t really see any migrating or shallowing right under Pāhala, it’s really just these deep events, which past studies have linked that to sort of deep magma upwelling, maybe where it comes into the volcanic edifice that the Big Island where it first enters from the sort of upper mantle area to the crust. You can read more about that at this Volcano Watch that was written in 2019. It talks slightly more about that. But again, this activity has been observed for decades. And it did pick up in August 2019, but it stayed pretty consistent since then. So, thank you very much. If you have questions, please feel free to email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. And stay safe. Thank you.”