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 DAILY UPDATE|
U.S. Geological Survey
Monday, January 17, 2022, 8:55 AM HST (Monday, January 17, 2022, 18:55 UTC)
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W,
Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Activity Summary: The summit eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, remains paused. All recent lava activity has been confined to the crater, and there are no indications of activity migrating elsewhere on Kīlauea.
Summit Observations: The deflationary trend that began on January 15 moderated yesterday and stabilized overnight. Volcanic tremor dropped to background levels in step with summit deflation. A flurry of small-magnitude earthquakes recorded at the summit during recent days, at depths ranging from about 10–14 km (6–9 miles) below sea level, diminished significantly overnight. The most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate of approximately 300 tonnes per day (t/d) was measured on January 11 during the eruption pause, while a rate of approximately 3,300 t/d was measured on the morning of January 6 when the lava lake was active.
Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava is not erupting from the western vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Crust covers the lake, with occasional small foundering events observed. The lava lake surface level has dropped about 10 meters (33 feet) since this pause began on January 15. Similar pauses in recent weeks have ranged in duration from 1 to 3 days. The lake has seen a total rise of about 70 meters (230 feet) since lava emerged on September 29, 2021. Measurements on December 30, 2021, indicated that the total lava volume effused since the beginning of the eruption was approximately 40 million cubic meters (10.5 billion gallons) at that time.
East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted in the Kīlauea East Rift Zone. Low rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along the East Rift Zone, and along the Southwest Rift Zone. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō, in the middle East Rift Zone, were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.
Hazard Analysis: This eruption at Kīlauea's summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects downwind. Large amounts of volcanic gas—primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)—are continuously released during eruptions of Kīlauea volcano. As SO2 is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create the visible haze known as vog (volcanic smog) that has been observed downwind of Kīlauea. Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock. For more information on gas hazards at the summit of Kīlauea, please see: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20173017. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org.
Additional hazards include Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from lava fountains that will fall downwind and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the erupting fissure vent(s). Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation.
Other significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of the rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008.
For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, please see: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards.
Please see the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website for visitor information: https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm. Visitors to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park should note that under southerly (non-trade) wind conditions, there is potential for a dusting of powdery to gritty ash composed of volcanic glass and rock fragments. These ashfalls represent a minor hazard, but visitors should be aware that such dustings at areas around the Kīlauea summit are possible.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea volcano.
HVO will continue to issue daily Kīlauea volcano updates until further notice. Additional messages will be issued as needed.
Kīlauea activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862
Kīlauea webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams
Kīlauea photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/photo-and-video-chronology
Kīlauea lava-flow maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/maps
Kīlauea FAQs: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/faqs