Kilauea volcano’s newest lava eruption pauses … for now

Kamoamoa 2

It’s over … for now.

Kilauea volcano’s most recent fissure eruption, which last week sent lava spatter up to 160 feet in the air from a 1.4-mile crack in the earth, has ended indefinitely.

The breakout Kamoamoa fissure, near Puu Oo crater on the Kilauea summit’s east rift zone, paused last Wednesday evening after five days of continuous, often dramatic lava activity. Seismic tremor in the area of the fissure—which would indicate activity below the surface—has dipped to levels present before the fissure opened on March 5.

The Kamoamoa fissure roared to life just after 5 p.m. on Sat., March 5, producing low-level lava fountains along a 535-yard long newly-opened crack in the ground just two miles from Kilauea’s long-erupting Puu Oo crater. The floor of Puu Oo crater had collapsed only three hours earlier, as magma began withdrawing from beneath its surface.

Lava activity at the Kamoamoa fissure on March 6, a day after it had opened. (Click photo to enlarge.) Photo: USGS

Lava activity at the Kamoamoa fissure continued steadily over the next five days with lulls in activity occasionally punctuated by lava fountains and spatter up to 160 feet. By the conclusion of surface lava activity at the site last Wednesday evening, the length of the fissure had extended to 1.4 miles.

In their daily update this morning, geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported persistent glowing spots overnight in Puu Oo crater, while Kamoamoa fissure remains inactive.

Though eruptive activity at Kamoamoa has ceased for the time being, access to the remote area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains off limits to hikers. Continuing activity at Halemaumau crater on Kilauea volcano’s summit can be observed by park visitors from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Thomas A. Jaggar Museum overlook, which is open 24 hours daily.

A geologist stands near ground cracks between the east and west fissures of Kamoamoa on March 10. (Click photo to enlarge.) Photo: USGS


Daily updates on Kilauea volcano activity are available at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

Categories: Hawai‘i Island