Swarm of earthquakes reported south of Kīlauea prompt volcano watch

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FILE – HVO geophysicist conducts the annual high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) survey of Kīlauea. This survey location was located on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. (USGS/A. Ellis photo)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A swarm of earthquakes beneath the south part of Kīlauea caldera, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, was reported Monday evening, raising concerns over whether Kīlauea was erupting. Officials have confirmed the volcano is not erupting, but a watch continues to remain in place.

The strong sequence of earthquakes began at around 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23.

By Tuesday morning, US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) raised the volcano alert level for Kīlauea from Advisory (Yellow) to Watch (Orange) as a result of the onset of earthquakes that coincided with a change in the style of ground deformation in the Kīlauea summit region. Officials believe the activity could potentially indicate shallow movement of magma beneath the south part of Kīlauea caldera.

Over 140 earthquakes have been recorded as of 4:30 a.m. The largest recorded earthquake had a magnitude of 3.3 with a majority of earthquakes exhibiting a magnitude of 1. Small earthquakes are continuing at a rate of at least 10 detected earthquakes per hour.

HVO and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are continuing to monitor the activity closely and will adjust the alert level accordingly.

The activity has been confirmed to be confined entirely within the park. No general hazards have been reported at this time.

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