Report on Kilauea (United States) — 12 May-18 May 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 May-18 May 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, 12 May-18 May 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 12-18 May HVO reported that activity at Kilauea continued from the summit and the east rift zone. At the summit, occasional rising and falling of the circulating lava-pool surface continued at the deep pit inset within the floor of Halema'uma'u crater; glow from the vent was visible. The plume of gas and ash from the summit vent drifted SW. On 14 May the sulfur dioxide emission rate measured at the summit was1,000 tonnes/day. The surface dimensions of the lava pool were an estimated 60 m by 90 m on 17 and 18 May.
At the east rift zone, lava flows that broke out of the TEB lava-tube system had advanced down the Pulama pali onto the coastal plain and headed S into the ocean. Geologists confirmed a collapse of a 17 m by 75 m sliver of Pu'u 'O'o crater's N rim that occurred on 11 May.
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.