Report on Kilauea (United States) — 18 April-24 April 2018

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 April-24 April 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 April-24 April 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (18 April-24 April 2018)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 18-24 April HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. The lake level was high, and by late on 21 April had overflowed the S crater rim. As of midday on 23 April the new flows has covered about 16 ha of the floor, or about 30%. Overflows of the crater rim continued through 24 April, flowing as far as 375 m onto the N, SW, and S parts of the crater floor. HVO noted that the overflows were the first significant ones since May 2015.

Surface lava flows were active above Pulama pali. On 18 April geologists observed the pit crater on the W side of Pu'u 'O'o Crater, noting that overflows had built up the crater rim to several meters above the crater floor and 7 m higher compared to late March.

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)