(BIVN) – The elevated unrest to the south south-west of Kīlauea’s summit has continued over the past 24 hours in association with the movement of magma in the area that began in early October.
Kīlauea volcano is not erupting, but the summit remains at a high level of inflation, and eruptive activity is possible in the coming weeks or months. If there is an eruption, scientists say it is most likely to occur in the summit region inside of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and away from infrastructure.
On Monday, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported approximately 174 earthquakes were recorded in the summit region over the past 24 hours, an increase from 109 during the previous day.
Waxing and waning of unrest may continue, as the Kilauea alert level remains at ADVISORY.
Some of the trails in and around the Kaʻū dessert remain closed by the National Park Service due to the elevated signs of activity.
From the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Monday, October 23:
Summit Observations: Unrest to the south and southwest of the summit area of Kīlauea remained elevated over the past day. Waxing and waning of unrest may continue.
Renewed seismicity beneath the south end of Kīlauea caldera extending to the southwest along the trend of December 1974 vents began a week ago on October 16. The renewed activity initially peaked on October 17, but following a decline of several days, the seismic unrest over the past three days has again been at levels similar to or somewhat higher that on the 17th. Over the past 24 hours, approximately 174 earthquakes were recorded in Kīlauea’s summit region, an increase from 109 during the previous day. Most of the earthquakes related to this unrest are at depths of around 1–3 km (0.6–2 mi) below the surface.
The Uēkahuna summit tiltmeter located north of the caldera was generally flat over the past day. The Sand Hill tiltmeter, located just southwest of the caldera, showed ongoing inflation over the past 24 hours. Overall, inflation at the summit of Kīlauea remains high and has surpassed the level seen just before the most recent eruption on September 10th. However, the current rate of inflation in the region has diminished significantly since October 4-6.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain low and were measured at a rate of about 100 tonnes per day on October 19.
It is unclear if unrest in Kīlauea summit region will continue and it is not possible to say with certainty if activity will lead to an eruption; activity may remain below the ground surface. However, an eruption remains possible, most likely in Kīlauea’s summit region inside of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and away from infrastructure. Similar patterns of earthquake activity and ground deformation occurred to the south of the caldera prior to the September and June 2023 eruptions in Kīlauea summit caldera (in Halemaʻumaʻu crater and on the downdropped block). Volcanic gas emissions pose the greatest hazard to areas downwind of Kīlauea’s summit.
There is currently no sign of an imminent eruption and increasing inflation and earthquake activity (heightened unrest) are expected to precede an eruption. During periods of heightened unrest prior to recent eruptions at Kīlauea summit, signs of imminent eruption did not appear until 1-2 hours before lava reached the surface. The summit of Kīlauea remains at a high level of inflation and eruptive activity is possible in the coming weeks or months. HVO scientists will continue to monitor Kīlauea volcano closely and will issue additional messages as warranted by changing activity.