HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE U.S. Geological Survey Sunday, May 15, 2022, 8:45 AM HST (Sunday, May 15, 2022, 18:45 UTC)

Join us on one of our volcano tours to view the amazing Kilauea shield volcano. Our luxury tours allow you to sit back and relax in comfort while experiencing the rugged beauty of the volcano and the Big Island of Hawaii. Below is the latest update as of May 15th from the U.S. Geological Survey on the Kilauea eruption.

KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
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, has continued over the past 24 hours. All recent lava activity has been confined to the crater, and current data indicate that this scenario is likely to continue. No significant changes have been noted in the summit or East Rift Zone.

Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Eruption of lava from the Halemaʻumaʻu western vent into the active lava lake and onto the crater floor has continued over the past 24 hours. The active lava lake has shown continuous surface activity, with lake level remaining relatively high. Lava ooze-outs were active over the course of the day, though slightly diminished compared with earlier last week. Overflight measurements on April 6, 2022 indicated that the crater floor had seen a total rise of about 99 meters (325 feet) and that 66 million cubic meters (18 billion gallons) of lava had been effused since the beginning of this eruption on September 29, 2021.

Summit Observations: Summit tiltmeters showed weak deflation over the past 24 hours. A sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate of approximately 2,800 tonnes per day (t/d) was measured on May 12, 2022.​​​​​​​

East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted along the East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone; steady rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along both. No tremor episodes were observed over the past 24 hours. Measurements from continuous gas monitoring stations downwind of Puʻuʻōʻō in the middle East Rift Zone remain below detection limits for SO2, indicating that SO2 emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō are negligible.​​​​​​​

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.