The Big Island of Hawai'i is composed of five volcanoes... Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualālai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea.|
Hualālai and Mauna Loa are expected to erupt again. Mauna Kea can still be active though there are no current indications. The current active volcano is Kilauea which has been spewing forth lava pretty much nonstop since it began - and is among the worlds most active volcanoes.
Currently lava comes out at the Pu'u 'O'o vent inside the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Depending on conditions the lava is quite often accessible and offers visitors an experience of a lifetime.
Lava flowing from Pu'u 'O'o normally flows through lava tubes towards the ocean 6 miles away. About two miles before the ocean the lava encounters a 1,200 foot cliff which is flows over, and then two to three miles of coastal flats until it pours into the ocean. Often the lava is visible on the Pali (cliff), on the coastal flats, and at the ocean entry.
In the huge Kilauea Summit caldera itself site Halema'uma'u Crater. On March 19, 2008, a vent opened in the crater causing a portion of Crater Rim Drive to be closed. The vent is still open but lava continues to remain below the surface of the vent.
We have much to say about the volcano and the lava - this page lays out the various sections that you can visit.
Be sure to read the section on Cautions and Warnings as it contains very important information about volcano safety.
Current Volcanic Activity
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory located in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park provides a daily update of the eruption activity at Pu'u 'O'o and down on the coastal flats. This is a good place to check to see what is currently going on.
We extract the daily report from USGS and have it for you below along with some of the most recent USGS pictures of the flow. Please visit the USGS website for more details and photographs.
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY MONTHLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 3:32 PM HST (Thursday, May 7, 2020, 01:32 UTC)
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W,
Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN
Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Monitoring data for the month of April show variable but typical rates of seismicity and ground deformation, low rates of sulfur dioxide emissions, and only minor geologic changes since the end of eruptive activity in September 2018.
Observations: Monitoring data have shown no significant changes in volcanic activity in April.
Rates of seismicity over the month were about 25 per cent lower than during the past month. Sulfur dioxide emission rates are low at the summit and are below detection limits at Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the lower East Rift Zone. The crater lake at the bottom of Halema'uma'u continues to slowly expand and deepen. As of May 3rd, the lake depth was approximately 35 meters or 115 feet.
Over the past month, the summit tiltmeter recorded 4 deflation-inflation events--down from 10 recorded last month. In April 2020, deformation rates at Kilauea's summit and middle East Rift Zone continue to show inflation, consistent with magma supply to the volcano's shallow storage system. Gas measurements show continuing low levels of sulfur dioxide emission from the Halema'uma'u area, consistent with no significant shallowing of magma. Some amount of sulfur dioxide is being dissolved into the summit lake and work continues to try and quantify this process. The lake was last sampled by UAS in January and additional sampling with UAS is planned.
Farther east, GPS stations and tiltmeters continue to show motions consistent with slowed refilling of the deep East Rift Zone magmatic reservoir in the broad region between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130. The decrease in deformation rates at tilt station POO, observed in February, continued through April. GPS station JOKA, and tilt station JKA, in the lower East Rift Zone, experienced another episode of deformation through April with a different direction from the longer term trend. Monitoring data do not suggest any imminent change in volcanic hazard for this area. The south flank of Kīlauea continued to creep seaward at elevated rates following the May 4, 2018 M6.9 earthquake near Kalapana. HVO continues to carefully monitor all data streams along the Kīlauea East Rift Zone and south flank for important changes.
Although not currently erupting, areas of persistently elevated ground temperatures and minor release of gases are still found in the vicinity of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone fissures. These include steam (water), very small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide. These conditions are expected to be long-term. Similar conditions following the 1955 eruption continued for years to decades.
Hazards: Hazards remain in the lower East Rift Zone eruption area and at the Kīlauea summit. Residents and visitors near the 2018 fissures, lava flows, and summit collapse area should heed Hawaii County Civil Defense and National Park warnings. Lava flows and features created by the 2018 eruption are primarily on private property and persons are asked to be respectful and not enter or park on private property.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor geologic changes, seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of increased activity at Kīlauea. HVO maintains visual surveillance of the volcano with web cameras and field visits. Additional messages and alert level changes will be issued as warranted by changing activity.
Background Since June 25 2019, Kīlauea Volcano has been at NORMAL/GREEN. For definitions of USGS Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/about_alerts.html. Kīlauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to the next eruption, the time frame of warning may be short. Island of Hawaiʻi residents should be familiar with the long-term hazard map for Kīlauea Volcano (https://pubs.usgs.gov/mf/1992/2193/) and should stay informed about Kīlauea activity.
This notice contains additional volcanoes not displayed: Hualalai (NORMAL/GREEN), Mauna Kea (NORMAL/GREEN), Haleakala (NORMAL/GREEN), Loihi Seamount (UNASSIGNED/UNASSIGNED).
Activity summary for Mauna Loa is also available by phone: (808) 967-8866
Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/
Webcam images: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna_loa/multimedia_webcams.html
FAQs of Mauna Loa: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/faq_maunaloa.html
Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hawaii_hazards.html
Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna_loa/monitoring_summary.html
Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/about_alerts.html
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi.