This compilation shows nine thermal maps created for the ongoing eruption in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea, which began on December 20, 2020. The maps show the rapid emplacement and growth of the lake in the initial days, followed by a switch in the dominant vent from the north fissure to the west fissure on December 26. The main island shifts and rotates, presumably controlled by the lake currents. The last two maps (Jan 7 and 12) shows the stagnation and cooling of the eastern half of the lake surface. The color range shows the relative temperatures across the lake, with blue colors indicative of cooler temperatures and red colors indicative of warmer temperatures. USGS maps by M. Patrick.

KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.0 earthquake located beneath the south part of the Island of Hawai‘i, in the district of Kaʻū, on Thursday, January 14, at 6:15 p.m., HST.

The earthquake was centered about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Pāhala, at a depth of 34 km (21 miles). A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/hv72320262/.

Moderate shaking, with maximum Intensity of V on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, has been reported across parts of the Island of Hawai‘i. At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures is not expected. The USGS “Did you feel it?” service (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/) received over 580 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.

According to HVO acting Scientist-in-Charge, David Phillips, the earthquake had no observable impact on the ongoing eruption at Kīlauea’s summit at the time of this Information Statement. “This earthquake is part of the ongoing seismic swarm under the Pāhala area, which started in August 2019. Unlike most events associated with this swarm, this earthquake was widely felt across the Island of Hawai‘i, and as far away as Oʻahu. Please be aware that aftershocks are possible and may be felt. HVO continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. The Alert Levels / Color Codes remain at WATCH/ORANGE for Kilauea and at ADVISORY/YELLOW for Mauna Loa at this time.”

Earthquakes beneath Kīlauea’s lower Southwest Rift Zone occur mostly at depths of 25-40 km (15-25 miles), beneath the town of Pāhala and extending about 10 km (6 miles) offshore. Earthquakes in this region have been observed at least as far back as the 1960s and are posited to be related to deep magma pathways under the island.

For information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/.

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov