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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 9 January-15 January 2013

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 January-15 January 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 January-15 January 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (9 January-15 January 2013)


Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 9-15 January HVO reported that the circulating lava lake periodically rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. The gas plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash, spatter, and Pele's hair onto nearby areas. The lake level was 40-45 m below the Halema'uma'u crater floor during 9-10 January, 32 m below the floor on 14 January, and 25 m below the floor on 15 January (which was a little higher than the previous high point in late October 2012).

At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, glow emanated from spatter cones on the SE part of the crater floor, from a spatter cone at the NW edge of the floor, and from a circulating lava lake on the NE part of the floor. Lava flows were active in a 1-km-wide area that stretched from near the base of the pali to the coast. Web cameras recorded steam plumes from lava sporadically entering the ocean at multiple locations. During 9-13 January the lava lake overflowed and occasionally fed larger flows on the crater floor and two small flows on the E flank of Pu'u 'O'o cone. Lava flowed from the SE spatter cone on 11 January and from the SW spatter cone the next day. Lava levels remained high in the crater during 14-15 January; several lava flows from multiple vents were active on the crater floor.

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)