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Partial backcountry closure at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

May 11, 2015

Due to increased seismic activity reported by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will not be issuing backcountry permits for any areas below Crater Rim Drive, and Kulanaokuaiki Campground is closed.

The increase in seismicity and the drop in the summit lava lake — now about 10 meters, or 33 feet, below the vent rim — is similar to what we experienced with the Kamoamoa fissure eruption in 2011.  When this happened, we were not able to tell where lava would pop up and it could impact safe visitation anywhere along the East Rift Zone.

lava lake at Kīlauea summit

The summit lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater dropped to 10 meters (33 feet) below the vent rim over the weekend. USGS Photo

Although there is no immediate indication that this scenario is happening, the park is making these closures just in case, and will reevaluate based on any new data from USGS.

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