(BIVN) – Earthquakes and ground deformation rates on Kīlauea are increasing, indicating the Hawaiʻi island volcano is showing signs of elevated unrest.
Kīlauea volcano is not erupting, and the USGS Alert Level remains at ADVISORY/YELLOW. Scientists with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Monday issued a special status report concerning the increase in seismicity at the summit. They also noted that no unusual activity has been observed along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone.
Although there is no change in the alert level, the USGS HVO will be returning to issuing daily updates on Kīlauea starting on Tuesday.
From the USGS status report:
Earthquake rates beneath Kīlauea summit region have increased from an average of about 20 earthquakes per day to over 40 earthquakes per day during the past week. Ground deformation rates are also high at the summit of Kīlauea, similar to conditions before the June 7, 2023, eruption.
The week’s earthquakes peaked at 100 on Sunday, August 13, including a magnitude-4.3 event that was felt across the Island of Hawaiʻi. Most other earthquakes were smaller than magnitude-2 and primarily occurred at 0–2 km depth beneath Kaluapele (Kīlauea caldera, including Halemaʻumaʻu) but also extended northeast towards Kīlauea Iki Crater and along the southern end of the caldera.
The increase in seismicity at Kīlauea summit yesterday was accompanied by a brief increase in the rate of ground tilt, which has since returned to steady-state. Gas emissions remain low, reflective of the current lack in eruptive activity at the summit.
These observations indicate that magma is accumulating beneath the surface of Kīlauea’s summit region. The elevated unrest suggests that an eruption at Kīlaueaʻs summit might be possible with little or no warning, but there is no sign that an eruption is imminent.