(BIVN) – Kīlauea volcano is not erupting, but the summit area is still exhibiting signs of elevated unrest.
Steady rates of earthquakes have persisted in an area south of Kīlauea’s summit since August 22, and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says there was a small, brief swarm this morning.
“Most of these earthquakes have occurred at depths of 1–2 miles (2–3 kilometers) below the surface, lacking upward migration,” the USGS HVO wrote in a Wednesday update. “Last night, summit tiltmeters tracked a gradual transition to deflation, which has continued steadily today.”
The current USGS alert level for Kīlauea is ADVISORY. The Hawaiʻi island volcano last erupted in June, and the general trend since that time has been slow, long-term summit inflation. From the Observatory:
The seismic and tilt data indicate that Kīlauea’s summit is becoming increasingly pressurized. Similar episodes of earthquake and ground deformation activity occurred in November 2020 and August 2021, prior to eruptions in December 2020 and September 2021. The unrest is currently confined within Kīlauea’s summit region and—if it continues—could escalate to an eruption in the coming days, weeks, or months. The activity could also decrease due to intrusion of magma underground or other changes, resulting in no eruption. Furthermore, levels of activity are expected to rise and fall during this period of unrest.
No unusual activity has been noted along the volcano’s East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone, scientists say.