(BIVN) – Kilauea is not erupting, and the volcano alert level remains at ADVISORY.
Moderate rates of seismicity were recorded in the southern summit region over the past day, scientists reported in the first volcano update of the year 2024, following the end of a seismic swarm that began south of Halemaʻumaʻu on December 29th and ended on December 30th.
Scientists also say seismic activity is moderate in the upper East Rift Zone. The Southwest Rift Zone remains seismically quiet, as does Kīlauea’s middle and lower East Rift Zones.
From the Monday, January 1st update by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:
Summit Observations: The December 29–30 seismic swarm and associated inflation in the southern part of Kīlauea’s summit region has ended, with moderate rates of seismicity being recorded over the past two days. In the past 24 hours about 17 small-magnitude earthquakes (less than M1.5) were recorded south of the caldera, occurring at depths of 1–3 km (0.5–2 mi). Periods of increased or decreased numbers of shallow earthquakes can be expected to continue during repressurization of the summit magma reservoir, which has been ongoing since the end of the September eruption. Seismicity has not reached the levels that immediately preceded recent summit eruptions at Kīlauea.
For the past two days the Sand Hill tiltmeter, located just south of the caldera, has recorded only slight inflation. The summit tiltmeter at Uēkahuna began recording inflationary tilt yesterday morning, as part of another DI event. Kīlauea’s summit region remains at a high level of inflation; relative tilt is above the level reached prior to the most recent eruption in September 2023, and it is higher than at any time since the 2018 eruption.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission rates remain low. Field measurements indicated an SO2 emission rate of approximately 80 tonnes per day on December 28, which was similar to measurements in October, November, and early December.
The strong swarm of earthquakes and rapid inflation that occurred south of the caldera on December 29 and 30 indicated that magma was being emplaced at relatively shallow levels. This particular event led to an intrusion, but it is possible that similar events might lead to an eruption in the future. There are currently no signs of an imminent eruption at Kīlauea, but the volcano’s summit region remains unsettled, with a high level of inflation and continued seismic activity. The onsets of previous summit eruptions have been marked by strong swarms of earthquakes caused by magma moving towards the surface 1–2 hours before the appearance of lava. This type of earthquake activity is not being detected at this time.