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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 17 March-23 March 2010

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 March-23 March 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 March-23 March 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (17 March-23 March 2010)


Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 17-23 March, HVO reported incandescence from an active lava surface about 200 m below a vent in the floor of Kilauea's Halema'uma'u crater. The lava surface circulated and both rose and drained through a pit in the cavity floor. A plume from the vent drifted mainly SW, dropping small amounts of ash and spatter downwind. Measurements on 19 March indicated that the sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit remained elevated at 500 tonnes per day. The 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.

Lava from beneath the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex flowed SE through the upper portion of a lava tube system and broke out onto the surface. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite, and visual observations, revealed active lava flows above the pali. Incandescence was sometimes seen from a vent low on the S wall of Pu'u 'O'o crater.

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)