After 61 days of volcanic activity, the latest eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island has ended. On Tuesday, lava was no longer observed flowing on the crater floor of Halemaumau, where all recent volcanic activity had been confined.
According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the reduction in activity was due to the “larger deflationary tilt drop” that started Feb. 17. This tilt drop indicates that magma has been withdrawn from beneath the summit area and has moved lower in the volcano’s system.
Kilauea began erupting again Jan. 5 after scientists detected a glow within Halemaumau Crater. The eruption initially sent lava and ash into the air and created a large lava lake. The crater floor eventually began to collapse, and numerous fissures opened up in the ground, sending out rivers of lava that destroyed more than 700 homes.
Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes — a 2018 eruption destroyed more than 700 homes. It has been continuously erupting since 1983 and is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. Its lava flow has covered 48 square miles and added almost 500 acres of new land since its most recent eruption.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will continue to watch Kilauea’s summit and East Rift Zone for any significant changes in activity. Scientists are also still digging into data from the past eruption to better understand the volcano’s behavior and forecast future eruptions.