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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 16 August-22 August 2017

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 August-22 August 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, 16 August-22 August 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (16 August-22 August 2017)


Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 16-22 August 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. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. A breakout 120 m up-slope of the ocean entry began at 0410 on 19 August and lasted about 9.5 hours; it produced a lava fall over the sea cliff W of the ramp and a small ‘a’a flow on the W portion of the delta. At 2135 a large littoral explosion occurred near the front of the delta, producing spatter that was ejected higher than the sea cliff (about 28 m high). Another smaller explosion was observed five minutes later. HVO scientists documented ongoing littoral explosions on 21 August, as well as continued widening of the cracks running parallel to the coastline.

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)