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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 29 January-4 February 2003

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 January-4 February 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 January-4 February 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (29 January-4 February 2003)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 29 January to 3 February at Kilauea, lava continued to enter the sea at the West Highcastle entry. Around 28 January a large lava breakout occurred from the West Highcastle lava tube about 170 m inland from the old sea cliff. As of 2 February the area of the new breakout was about 6.15 hectares. During the report period, seismicity was at background levels at Kilauea. The long-lasting swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor at Kilauea's summit, which began last June, continued at low-to-moderate levels. No significant deformation was recorded.

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)