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The latest eruption at Kīlauea summit has come to an abrupt end after just six days, making it the shortest recorded eruption at the volcano since 1982. The eruption, which began on September 10, featured six active vents releasing lava from Halema‘uma‘u crater and the surrounding area. However, the lava flow ceased on Saturday. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory does not anticipate the eruption to resume, based on previous short-lived summit fissure eruptions. No unusual activity has been observed along Kīlauea’s Rift Zones, and the volcano’s deputy scientist-in-chief, David Phillips, noted that while there is still outgassing from the crater, there are no visible signs of lava on the surface. This sudden end to the eruption mirrors a similar event a few months ago. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will now transition to weekly updates in the coming days.

Kīlauea summit eruption abruptly ends after six days; shortest since 1982

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The recent Kīlauea summit eruption lasted less than a week, making it the shortest recorded eruption at the volcano since 1982. It started on September 10 and saw six active vents spewing lava from within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the surrounding area. However, the lava flow stopped on Saturday. The eruption was dynamic, with lava fountains reaching heights of up to 150 feet and maintaining heights of 50 feet throughout the week. The surface of the lava lake also rose by 30 feet. Despite the abrupt end of the eruption, there is no expected resumption based on past short-lived summit fissure eruptions.


History of Kīlauea Summit Eruptions

Kīlauea, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Over the years, it has experienced numerous summit eruptions. These eruptions typically occur within the Halema‘uma‘u crater. Some notable summit eruptions include the 1982 eruption, which lasted only a day, and the 2018 eruption, which lasted for several months. The volcanic activity at Kīlauea attracts both scientists and tourists due to its unique features and the opportunity to study volcanic processes.

Duration of the Latest Eruption

Start and End Dates

The latest eruption at Kīlauea’s summit began on September 10, 2023. It was characterized by six active vents spewing lava from within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the dropped down block area nearby. However, the eruption came to an end on September 16, lasting less than a week. This makes it the shortest recorded eruption at Kīlauea since the 1982 eruption.

Comparison to Previous Eruptions

When comparing the duration of the latest eruption to previous summit fissure eruptions, it is evident that short-lived eruptions are not uncommon at Kīlauea. In the past, there have been eruptions in 1982, 1975, 1974, and 1971 that ended abruptly after a short period of activity. This suggests that the recent eruption’s sudden end is consistent with historical patterns of volcanic activity at the summit.

Live View of the Crater

For those interested in observing the current state of the Kīlauea summit crater, a live webcam provides a real-time view. The webcam allows viewers to witness the volcanic landscape and any visible changes that may occur. To access the live view of the crater, click here.

Expectations for Resuming Eruption

Based on previous short-lived summit fissure eruptions at Kīlauea, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory does not anticipate a resumption of the recent eruption. Historical eruptions that abruptly ended, similar to the latest one, suggest that the volcanic activity has ceased and is unlikely to start again without any significant precursory signs. Therefore, it is expected that there will be no further volcanic activity associated with the recent eruption.

Relevant Information

For more detailed information about the recent Kīlauea summit eruption, additional resources are available. The United States Geological Survey’s website provides comprehensive information on recent volcanic activity, including the eruption at Kīlauea. Visit https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/recent-eruption for further details and updates.

Activity in Other Zones

While the recent summit eruption at Kīlauea has come to an end, it is essential to monitor activity in other volcanic zones of the volcano. Currently, no unusual activity has been observed along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone. Ground deformation and seismicity levels remain steady in both regions. Continuous monitoring of these areas is crucial to detect any changes that may indicate future volcanic activity.

Frequency of Summit Eruptions since 2020

Since 2020, there have been a total of five eruptions at the Kīlauea summit. The recent eruption, which lasted less than a week, is another example of the dynamic volcanic activity experienced at the summit in recent years. Deputy Scientist-in-Chief David Phillips noted that the sudden end of the eruption is similar to the previous eruption that occurred a few months ago, which lasted from June 7 to 19. These frequent and relatively short-lived summit eruptions highlight the dynamic nature of Kīlauea’s volcanic system.

Number of Eruptions

In the past three years, Kīlauea has experienced five eruptions at its summit. These eruptions have varied in duration and intensity, with some lasting for months and others ending abruptly after a few days. The frequency of summit eruptions since 2020 underscores the ongoing activity and volatility of Kīlauea’s volcanic system.

Comparison to Previous Eruption

When comparing the recent eruption’s duration to the previous eruption a few months ago, it is evident that both eruptions ended suddenly. This commonality suggests that short-lived summit fissure eruptions have become more prevalent at Kīlauea in recent years. Scientists closely monitor these eruptions to gain insights into volcanic processes and better understand the volcanic behavior of Kīlauea.

Observations after the Eruption

Although the recent eruption at Kīlauea’s summit has come to an end, there are still notable observations regarding the aftermath of the eruption. Firstly, there is no longer any visible lava on the surface, indicating that the volcanic activity has ceased. However, there is still outgassing from the crater, which is a typical post-eruption phenomenon.

Seismic activity at the summit has significantly decreased, with few volcano-tectonic earthquakes and tremors occurring at background levels. This decrease in seismicity further supports the conclusion that the recent eruption has ended.

Additionally, the surface of the lava lake within the crater rose by approximately 30 feet during the eruption. This rise in the lava lake’s surface is a result of the continuous supply of lava from the active vents. However, with the cessation of volcanic activity, the lava lake’s surface is expected to stabilize and potentially recede.

Future Updates

As volcanic activity at the Kīlauea summit has subsided, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will likely transition to providing weekly updates instead of daily ones in the coming days. These weekly updates will continue to monitor any changes in volcanic activity and provide the public and scientists with the most up-to-date information on the volcano’s status. Regular updates ensure that residents and visitors to the area stay informed about any potential hazards and changes in volcanic behavior.

In conclusion, the recent Kīlauea summit eruption, although short-lived, provided valuable insights into the dynamic nature of the volcano. Through continuous monitoring and analysis, scientists can better understand volcanic processes and predict future activity, allowing for informed decision-making and improved volcanic hazard assessments. By staying informed through reliable sources and regularly checking for updates, individuals can ensure their safety and be aware of any changes in Kīlauea’s volcanic behavior.