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Kīlauea eruption pauses after 61 days of activity

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M. Patrick
FILE - Lava lake activity in Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea, on January 20, 2023.

The latest eruption at Kīlauea’s summit on Hawaiʻi Island has paused after 61 days of volcanic activity.

U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said Tuesday lava was no longer flowing on the crater floor of Halemaʻumaʻu, where all recent volcanic activity had been confined.

No significant changes have been observed along the volcano’s rift zones. Scientists on Monday observed small “ooze-outs” of lava flowing sluggishly in the lava lake.

Officials said activity diminished in the afternoon, and by Tuesday, there was no active lava in the crater.

USGS said the reduction in activity was related to the “larger deflationary tilt drop” that began Feb. 17, a common process at Kīlauea in which the ground deflates for hours or days. The drop in pressure can then cause eruptions to diminish.

Kīlauea began erupting again Jan. 5 after scientists detected a glow within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The latest eruption started after a nearly monthlong pause in activity.

Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. A 2018 Kīlauea eruption destroyed more than 700 homes.

Before the major 2018 eruption, Kīlauea had been erupting since 1983, and streams of lava occasionally covered farms and homes. During that time, the lava sometimes reached the ocean, causing dramatic interactions with the water.

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