28 billion gallons of lava later, Kilauea eruption at summit crater is on pause

Kilauea volcano’s summit eruption has paused, the USGS says.
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 7:22 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 12:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kilauea volcano’s summit eruption has paused, the USGS says.

Officials said since the eruption started on Sept. 29, 2021, more than 29 billion gallons of lava has spewed out into the summit’s Halemaumau Crater ― raising the floor by about 469 feet.

“Over the last 24 hours, the lava lake has remained completely crusted over and no incandescence was visible,” Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said, in their latest update. “Time lapse camera images show that floor of Halemaʻumaʻu crater over the past week show weak deflation and no inflation.”

Volcanic tremors are also weak to nonexistent, according to USGS.

The announcement comes as the eruption at Mauna Loa also appears to be waning.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it’s not completely clear whether there’s any link between the Kilauea pause and the Mauna Loa slowdown.

“We know that the two volcanoes are independent to great depths. This is indicated by subtle differences in the chemistry of the lava that erupts. So on a large scale, the volcanoes act independently,” USGS said.

“But we have also seen subtle correlations in their behavior in the past. Times when both started to inflate at roughly the same time, for example. It may be that Mauna Loa’s eruption depressurized the deep magma system beneath the island just enough to cause Kilauea’s eruption to pause ― something that would only be possible because Kilauea’s eruption was sort of tenuous to begin with.

“But it’s also possible that it is simply a coincidence. This will definitely be a source of a lot of future investigation, since it is a surprising and thought-provoking correlation.”

This story will be updated.