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Report on Kilauea (United States) — January 1994

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 1 (January 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Kilauea (United States) New skylights open; W ocean entry remains active

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Wunderman, R. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199401-332010.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The . . . eruption continued as lava . . . traveled through tubes to the ocean. There was no change at the vent area, with the exception of small pahoehoe overflows within the crater of the E-53 vent; collapse pits around the E-51 vent continued to widen. The level of Pu`u `O`o lava pond was 84 m below the N spillway rim. A large, new skylight was spotted above 705 m elevation.

On 6 January, an active pahoehoe flow fanned out behind its aa terminus at the base of a fault scarp (Pulama pali) and descended to 60 m elevation before stagnating. A small flow oozed out of the Kamoamoa tube, at the base of another fault scarp (Paliuli). Another flow broke out at 120 m elevation on 8 January. This channelized aa and pahoehoe flow cascaded over the Paliuli fault scarp the next day before it stagnated.

Another new skylight opened above 60 m elevation. Lava in the skylight was almost 7 m below the ground surface and an underground lava fall was visible. The volume of lava in the skylight was high on 19 January, but decreased on the 27th.

Lava flows continued to enter the ocean on the W side of the Kamoamoa delta. The E bench stopped building into the ocean and began to erode during this interval while the W bench continued to grow. Prominent littoral cones formed as pieces of the bench collapsed, exposing lava tubes. There were several small collapses along the length of the bench but no major collapses were observed. The bench area extended >50 m into the ocean.

Eruption tremor continued during the first half of the month along the east rift zone. Low amplitude tremor fluctuated from near background to ~3x background levels. Higher amplitudes ranged from a half hour to ~2 hours duration. Shallow, long-period microearthquakes were moderate in rate. The number of short-period events was low beneath the summit and moderate to high along the east flank.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: T. Mattox and P. Okubo, HVO.