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 INFORMATION STATEMENT
U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 9:41 AM HST (Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 19:41 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
KĪLAUEA INFORMATION STATEMENT
Since August 2019, the US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has recorded over 5,900 earthquakes beneath Kīlauea's lower Southwest Rift Zone in a cluster about 6 mi (10 km) wide near the town of Pāhala. These earthquakes are occurring 15-25 mi (25-40 km) below the surface.
Deep earthquakes of this type do not generally pose a hazard from ground-shaking. Most earthquakes in the sequence have been magnitude-2 or lower, and most have not been felt by residents.
Clustering of deep earthquakes in this region does not mean an eruption is imminent. HVO has recorded earthquakes in this area for many decades across several eruptive cycles at both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. No correlation between seismic activity in this zone and volcanic activity at the surface has been established, although this is an important topic for future research.
Past studies suggest these earthquakes, and associated episodes of rhythmic ground shaking known as tremor, are the result of stresses caused by transport of magma through the Earth's mantle deep beneath the island, an area that may be the source region supplying magma to the active volcanoes.
The HVO monitoring network has recorded a high rate of seismicity in this region, typically between 20-40 earthquakes per day, since August 2019. A peak rate of more than 80 per day was recorded in February 2020. These rates are the highest ever measured for the area in the 60 years of instrumental observation. A sustained increase of this deep seismicity above long term background levels began as early as November 2015, although at rates lower than currently observed.
The strongest earthquake recorded in this sequence since August 2019 was a magnitude-3.5 event on January 6, 2020. The largest ever recorded by HVO in this deep region was a magnitude-4.7 earthquake in January 2006. Earthquakes in the magnitude 3-4 range can be felt widely by residents and are reported as weak to light shaking.
HVO continues to monitor the volcanoes of Hawaii including daily analysis of ongoing Pāhala area seismicity. We will provide additional updates on any significant change in volcano status.
For more information on deep earthquakes in the Pāhala area, please see the Volcano Watch article titled, "Why do so many deep earthquakes happen around Pāhala?" published by HVO scientists on October 10, 2019: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1433
HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov
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.