Volcano Watch: Geochemical detective work helps answer questions about Kilauea’s ongoing eruption

  • C. PARCHETA/U.S. Geological Survey photo When Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone first erupted May 3, lava temperatures were about 2,000 degrees (F). As the eruption progressed, with fresher magma feeding the fissures, the erupted lava became progressively hotter, resulting in more fluid and far-reaching lava flows (May 21 shown here). Lava temperatures have now leveled out at 2,070–2,085 degrees (F). These temperature measurements provide insight about what’s happening inside the volcano.

“What’s happening inside the volcano?”