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Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii, strombolian activity continues

by Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, considered one of the most active in the world, erupted overnight Sunday within Halema’uma’u crater, the U.S. Geological Survey said. 

Photo: USGS.gov


The observatory, part of the United States Geological Survey, detected a glow within the crater at approximately 9:30 p.m. HST, with multiple fissures opening on the walls of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The lava cascaded into the summit water lake, boiling off the water and forming a new lava lake at the base of the crater. 

The northern fissure produced a towering lava fountain at roughly 50 m (165 ft), and all lava was contained within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea caldera. 

On December 21, 2:15 a.m., from the west rim of Kīlauea caldera, a gas plume can be seen rising from Halemaʻumaʻu crater. This plume is drifting to the southwest with the trade winds. 

Photo: USGS.gov

At 4:09 a.m., according to the USGS Volcanoes, no major changes has been recorded, noting the dominant fountain on the north wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater, with weaker fountaining exhibited at fissures to the west. A billowing gas plume continues to drift to the southwest and  lava lake continues to slowly rise and grow and has begun to inundate the lowest of the down-dropped blocks that formed within Kīlauea caldera during the 2018 summit collapse events. 

In a view from the west rim of Kīlauea Caldera as of just before 5 a.m., the main fountain height is approximately 18 m (59 ft) and it, in addition to the two other fissures currently erupting, continues to feed a growing lava lake at the crater's base. 

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake hit about an hour after the volcano began erupting. The earthquake was centered about 14 km (8.7 miles) south of Fern Forest, near the Hōlei Pali area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at a depth of 6 km (4 miles).

Kilauea volcano is located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and lies in the southeast corner of the Big Island, where its continuous, decades-long activity has been punctuated by sequences of eruptions.

Kilauea erupted in 2018, destroying more than 700 homes and spewing enough lava to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. An area more than half the size of Manhattan was buried in up to 80 feet (24 meters) of now-hardened lava. The lava flowed over the course of four months.