Eruption at Kilauea’s summit causes ash plume

  • Fissure 8 erupts in Leilani Estates in this USGS photo posted Saturday on Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's website.
  • A section of dark-colored wall rock (center left) has detached and dropped downward into Halemaumau following an explosive eruption Saturday. Courtesy of USGS.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported an explosive eruption at Kilauea’s summit Saturday morning.

The event at 10:22 a.m. had the energy of a 5.3-magnitude earthquake. Areas downwind, including Volcano and Ka‘u, will be affected by ash.

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Explosive events have occurred regularly at the summit since the magma chamber began to withdraw following the start of the lower East Rift Zone eruption on May 3. The eruptions occur due to debris clogging the vent or groundwater seeping into the chamber.

The subsidence at the summit is causing the rim and walls of Halema‘uma‘u to slump inward.

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The lower East Rift Zone eruption remains concentrated at fissure 8 in Leilani Estates, which has built a cinder cone 170 feet tall. A lava fountain is pulsing to heights of 185 to 200 feet.

An ocean entry at Kapoho remains active. About 320 acres of new land has been created.

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