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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 27 November-3 December 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 November-3 December 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 November-3 December 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (27 November-3 December 2002)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 26 November-2 December at Kilauea, lava continued to flow into the ocean at low-to-moderate levels at the West Highcastle and Wilipe`a entries. West Highcastle was the more active of the two lava deltas, with sporadic explosions coming from one of its entry points. Several surface lava flows were visible on the coastal flat. Generally, seismicity was at normal levels. A swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor beneath Kilauea's caldera, occasionally active since June, continued to show short bursts of tremor interspersed with numerous small earthquakes. During the report week, small inflation and deflation events occurred at Pu`u `O`o and Uwekahuna tilt meters.

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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)