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Short-lived earthquake swarm discovered under Mauna Loa

Short-lived earthquake swarm discovered under Mauna Loa


USGS webcam image captured August 4, 2022, from a temporary search camera placed on the northern edge of Mokuʻāweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa volcano.

(BIVN) – A short-lived earthquake swarm was detected under the Mauna Loa volcano this week, but seismic rates have since returned to background levels. Mauna Loa is not erupting and is still at the advisor’s volcano alert level.

The USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory reported Thursday that seismic rates under Mauna Loa “temporarily increased above long-term background levels on the evening of August 2, 2022, and returned to background levels by the morning of August 3, 2022.”

From USGS notes published on August 4th:

Over the past week, HVO seismographs have recorded approximately 206 small-scale earthquakes (<3.0 magnitude) below the summit and sides of Mauna Loa's upper elevation. The majority of these earthquakes occurred at shallow depths less than 9 miles (15 kilometers) below sea level.

Of the 206 earthquakes recorded over the past week, 90 were part of a swarm of earthquakes that occurred under Moku’āweoweo, the summit of Mauna Loa Caldera, from about 5:20 PM HST on August 2, 2022, until 3:00 AM HST on August . 3, 2022. Most of these earthquakes occurred about 2 miles (3 km) below the surface and the largest event in the swarm was a magnitude 2.8 on the Richter scale. During the earthquake swarm, a slight increase in tilt of 1.5 microradians on the 1-mile scale (MOK) was observed at the summit, although a small portion of this signal includes normal diurnal effects.

GPS measurements show continued deformation rates in the volcano’s summit area over the past week.

This activity is a relatively small increase in volcanic disturbances and remains within the range of fluctuations observed over the past several years. Prior to this activity, the most recent swarm of earthquakes occurred under the summit of Mauna Loa in the spring of 2021, producing around 1,000 earthquakes over a seven-week period with a peak seismic rate of 40 per day.

Concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), and fumarole temperatures remain constant at both the summit gas stations and the sulfur cone (upper part of the SWR).

Currently, other Mauna Loa observation data streams, such as ground deformation and gas concentrations, do not show any significant changes. The US Geological Survey said webcam views showed no changes to the volcanic landscape on Mauna Loa over the past week.

Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984.




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