Maui News

Kīlauea summit eruption abruptly ends after six days; shortest since 1982

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Image of Kīlauea summit on Sept. 18, 2023, from U.S. Geological Survey webcam.

The latest Kīlauea summit eruption, which lasted less than a week, is the shortest recorded at the volcano since the 1982 eruption lasted only a day.

The latest eruption started on Sept. 10, with six active vents spewing lava from within Halema‘uma‘u crater and just outside of it in the area known as the dropped down block. The lava stopped flowing on Saturday.

Click here for a live view of the crater.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory doesn’t expect the eruption to resume based on past, short-lived summit fissure eruptions — 1982, 1975, 1974 and 1971 — which all ended abruptly.


Information on the recent Kīlauea summit eruption is available at:

No unusual activity has been noted along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone or Southwest Rift Zone. Steady rates of ground deformation and seismicity continue along both.

There have been five eruptions at the Kīlauea summit since 2020. Deputy Chief Scientist-in-Charge David Phillips said this eruption ended suddenly — similar to the one a few months ago that spewed lava June 7 to 19.

Phillips said there is no longer any visible lava from the surface although there is still outgassing from the crater. Seismicity has also dropped significantly.


The eruption was dynamic as lava fountains started at heights reaching 150 feet and maintained heights of up to 50 feet throughout last week. Phillips said it wasn’t until Wednesday that one of the vents stopped spewing lava.

Also, Phillips said the surface of the lava lake rose 30 feet.

Summit seismic activity is low with few volcano-tectonic earthquakes and tremors at background levels. Sulfur dioxide emissions have also decreased to near background levels based on the very weak plume visible this morning.

Sulfur dioxide levels were measured at a rate of 200 tonnes per day on Sunday. This value is down dramatically from the 190,000 tonnes per day measured just after the onset of the eruption on Sept. 10 and is typical of non-eruptive periods.


Levels of volcanic gas can remain locally hazardous even though Kīlauea is no longer erupting. Sulfur dioxide, or SO2, gas emissions have significantly decreased; however, local concentrations of SO2 or hydrogen sulfide may continue in downwind areas, and residents may notice odors of these gases occasionally.

For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, see

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will likely move to weekly updates in the coming days.


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