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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 10 May-16 May 2017

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 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, 10 May-16 May 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (10 May-16 May 2017)


Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


HVO reported that the lava delta at Kamokuna (the ocean entry area at Kilauea), which had been growing since late March, collapsed on 3 May. Two large cracks parallel to the coast were visible on 27 April, suggesting instability. Between 0935 and 0940 on 3 May a large steam plume appeared in the middle of the lava delta in the area of large cracks. Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra deposits were visible in the steaming area; that activity ended by 0940. Images acquired over the next 25 minutes showed a progressively weaker steam plume, and a subsiding delta. Photos of the ocean entry taken on 7 May showed multiple streams of lava flowing into the ocean.

During 10-16 May HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu'u 'O'o Crater, from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone, and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Surface lava flows were active above and near the pali.

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)