Volcano Watch: Kilauea’s south flank: What’s shaking?

  • USGS Figure illustrating Kīlauea’s south flank motion and location of regular earthquakes and aftershocks. The fault depicted in the figure is the detachment fault or decollement. This figure illustrates how the 2018 lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) dike intrusion exerted pressure on the south flank.

  • Aerial view of the Hōlei Pali along Kīlauea’s south flank. Hōlei Pali is a 400 meter (about 1300 ft) high escarpment along the Hilina fault system. During the Mauna Ulu eruption, lava flows descended the Pali between 1969 and 1974. Chain of Craters road is in view. (USGS Photo by Sarah Conway)

This story begins after Kilauea’s May 4, 2018, M6.9 earthquake and lower East Rift Zone eruption. The M6.9 earthquake resulted in seaward motion at the surface of Kilauea’s south flank of up to approximately 0.5 m (1.5 ft) as measured by Global Positioning System monitoring stations operated by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.