(BIVN) – Kīlauea volcano is not erupting, and on Sunday scientists noted that a “minor swarm of seismicity” located to the immediate south of the summit caldera which began Friday “persists with moderate levels of seismicity”. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says it continues to monitor this activity.
Although the volcanic unrest associated with an early October magma intrusion southwest of Kīlauea’s summit has diminished over the past week, scientists continue to say that eruptive activity could occur in the near future with little or no warning. The Kīlauea Alert Level has been maintained at ADVISORY.
From the Sunday USGS HVO update:
Summit Observations: Unrest around the summit area of Kīlauea has persisted over the past 24 hours. Moderate levels of seismicity continue after a swarm started on Friday November 9th. Current activity has occurred immediately south of Halemaʻumaʻu mostly within Kīlauea’s caldera and extending along the southwest rift zone. HVO continues to monitor this activity.
The Uēkahuna summit tiltmeter, located northwest of the caldera, has been unchanged over the last 24 hours. However, the Sand Hill tiltmeter, located southwest of the caldera, continues to show an increase in uplift rates over the last 24 hours suggesting inflation of a source south of Halemaʻumaʻu. Overall, the summit of Kīlauea remains at a high level of inflation, above the level reached prior to the most recent eruption in September 2023.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain low and were measured at a rate of about 100 tonnes per day on October 19, 2023.
There is currently no sign of an imminent eruption, but eruptive activity is possible in the coming weeks or months. Increased inflation and earthquake activity (heightened unrest) are expected to precede an eruption. The onsets of previous summit eruptions have been marked by strong swarms of earthquakes caused by the emplacement of a dike 1-2 hours before eruptions.
The HVO information statement released on October 23, 2023, provides additional information and context related to recent unrest at Kīlauea summit.
Rift Zone Observations: Over the past week, a small cluster of several dozen earthquakes has occurred in the middle Southwest Rift Zone. Most events have been smaller than magnitude-2 and have located near the 1823 vents, at depths of 1-3 miles (1-5 km) below sea level. Earthquake activity in this area has resumed over the past 24 hours. We continue to closely monitor this area. There have been several minor episodes of seismicity in the Upper East Rift zone in the past month, but no unusual activity has been noted along the rest of the East Rift Zone. Measurements from continuous gas monitoring stations downwind of Puʻuʻōʻō in the middle East Rift Zone have been below detection limits for SO2, indicating that SO2 emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō are negligible.