Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii - John Seach

Seismic tremor remains elevated, and is increasing at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. Over the past day, four earthquakes have been recorded beneath the volcano - three in the summit area, and one beneath the south flank. Three deflation-inflation events have occurred at Kilauea this week. This is caused by changes in a secondary magma chamber east of Halemaumau Crater at about 750 m below ground level. This secondary magma chamber produces episodic deformation events such as occurred this week. Deflation-inflation events typically have the following features - in the first phase, tiltmeters surrounding Kilauea caldera record slow deflation centered at the Halemaumau magma chamber that persists for about 24 hours. The second phase begins as the slow deflation abruptly gives way to rapid inflation, which is centred at Halemaumau magma chamber. The inflation phase is short-lived, lasting about 20 minutes. In the final phase, tiltmeters record exponentially decaying deflation, lasting from 8 to 20 hours, which returns the final tilt close to pre-event levels. The seismicity during deflation-inflation events is dominated by bursts of volcanic tremor at the onset of the inflationary phase. Along the east rift zone, lava continues to flow through tubes to the coast and is entering the ocean at Waikupanaha.
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