The end of Kilauea’s 2018 eruption this past September was accompanied by an enormous decrease in the amount of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) emitted from the volcano. This led to beautifully clear skies gracing the Island of Hawaii, particularly noticeable on the west side, where the volcanic pollution known as vog chronically collected in past years.
In February 1924, the surface of the lava lake at Halemaumau dropped rapidly and disappeared from view.
Eruption rate (how much lava comes out of the ground per unit time) is probably the best measure of volcanic activity, and the first step in that calculation is to measure lava flow thickness and area.
Since the end of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption on Kilauea Volcano, questions surfaced concerning how long it will take for the new lava flows to solidify. This is a difficult question to answer because the initial eruptive temperatures — along with many different factors — can influence the rate of cooling.
With the end of Kilauea Volcano’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption, the Island of Hawaii was able, at long last, to say goodbye to strong vog — volcanic smog produced by voluminous sulfur dioxide emissions.
Earthquakes in Hawaii are intimately related to the volcanoes. In addition to helping scientists track moving magma, sometimes they happen simply because the earth under the island chain gets bent out of shape.
The 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kilauea brought an end to the 35-plus-year eruption at Pu‘u ‘O‘o. With the draining of the summit and the collapse of Pu‘u ‘O‘o, Puna residents were concerned that the eruption in the LERZ could be long-lived.
One of the most frequent questions asked of U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists during the past several months has been, “Is the lower East Rift eruption over?”
During the federal government shutdown, the weekly Volcano Watch column is suspended.