Report on Kilauea (United States) — 1 February-7 February 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 1-7 February HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu'u 'O'o Crater and from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. All surface flows were active within 2.4 km of Pu'u 'O'o.
HVO geologists noted an extensive crack running parallel to the sea cliff about 5-10 m behind the stream of lava entering the ocean at Kamokuna. The crack was 30 cm wide on 28 January and 70 cm wide four days later, on 1 February. In addition, the seaward block bounded by this crack was visibly moving up to 1 cm, and ground shaking could be felt up to several hundred meters away. On 2 February the crack was wider and steaming, and the stream of lava that had been pouring into the ocean from an opening in a lava tube about 20 m above the water was no longer visible (though lava continued to enter the ocean). At about 1255 almost the entire section of the sea cliff that was seaward of the hot crack collapsed. The collapsed block generated a wave that propagated outward from the coast. After the collapse, no lava was visible entering the ocean though a steam plume and spatter from explosions indicated that the entry remained active.
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.