Kilauea still remains very active and today was rocked by a massive explosion that sent a plume of ash 1 mile up into the atmosphere. In addition, the geothermal fireworks triggered an earthquake that measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. The good news is that that’s strong enough to cause a tsunami.


The USGS Volcano team Tweeted out the following:

Kīlauea Message Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:50:56 HST: A small explosion occurred at Kīlauea’s summit at 4:32 AM HST. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports the event as an M5.6 earthquake. NWS reports a plume to 5000′ ASL. This is similar to other events of the past few weeks.

Here’s more from ABCNews:

Today’s quake was primarily caused by a buildup of pressure from the summit area of Kilauea.

“They are a response to pressure building up beneath the pile of rubble cover the vent opening at the summit,” Stovall explained. “So what we’re seeing is as the pressure builds up it will be released in what appears to be an earthquake but no fault plane is rupturing.”


The volcano’s valve is open and Kilauea is going through what Stovall called “a cycle of deflation.”

There have been 9,900 earthquakes since May, according to Stovall, and she estimated that number could quickly rise to 10,000.

As the “deflation process” continues, more eruptions like the one today could happen, NOAA’s Preller cautioned.

“This could go on for months,” she said. “The volcano is active and when these eruptive sequences get underway it’s doing exactly as it’s supposed to do, behaving as it should.”

These thermal images show some of the changes that have been taking place at Kilauea. From USGS:


What a difference four days makes! These thermal images of fissure 8 fountains erupting on Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone show a few things: 1) The lava fountains have gained height—with the tallest one growing from 150 ft to over 250 ft. 2) A pu‘u (cone) has built up downwind. 3) The amount of material wafting downwind is greater. Scientifically, we know the fountain temperatures are reaching up to about 2040 degrees F (1115 C). The composition of the lava erupted has high MgO (magnesium oxide) values, which comes from olivine crystals that are being pulled from deep in the rift zone.