When will Kilauea erupt again? One scientist believes it could take years

(Image: USGS)
(Image: USGS)
Updated: May. 21, 2019 at 6:30 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After last year’s Kilauea eruption, another eruption at the volcano’s rift zones could be more than a decade away.

A former Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that there are striking similarities between Kilauea and Loihi­, a small underwater volcano about 20 miles off the southwest coast of Hawaii Island. Loihi is not expected to rise above sea surface for at least 10,000 years.

Jacqueline Caplan-Auerbach, now a geology professor at Western Washington University, points to the last known eruption of Loihi in 1996 in which hundreds of quakes and summit collapses were associated with it.

Following that eruption, the seamount remained quiet for almost 20 years.

But she didn’t think Kilauea’s inactivity would last as long because Loihi is on the edge of a hotspot, while Kilauea is more directly on top of it, meaning magma could return faster.

Meanwhile, a geology professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa told the Advertiser that Kilauea and Mauna Loa seem to take turns erupting — and that right now, it appears that Mauna Loa is getting ready for its next eruption as there have been more earthquakes recorded there over the last month.

Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843. Its last eruption was in 1984.

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