Report on Kilauea (United States) — 4 July-10 July 2018

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 July 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, 4 July-10 July 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (4 July-10 July 2018)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that the eruption at Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and at Overlook Crater within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 4-10 July. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated at Fissure 8, feeding lava flows that spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and built out the coastline at multiple ocean entries. Fissure 22 produced spattering 50-80 m above its spatter cone and fed short lava flows that traveled NE on 4 July; weak spattering was visible form the cone the rest of the week.

Inward slumping of the crater rim and walls of Halema`uma`u continued, adjusting from the withdrawal of magma and subsidence of the summit area. Explosions from collapse events occurred almost daily, producing gas-and-ash-poor plumes.

Fountaining at Fissure 8 continued; lava fountains rarely rose higher than the 55-m-high spatter cone. Pele's hair and other volcanic glass from the fountaining fell within Leilani Estates. The fountains continued to feed the lava flow that traveled NE, and then SE around Kapoho Crater. Occasional overflows sent small flows down the sides of the channel that did not extend beyond areas previously covered in lava in the upper part of the channel; overflows further down traveled beyond the flow-field boundary. Small brush fires were ignited from some of the overflows. A thermal map from 6 July showed that lava was not entering the ocean from the main channel and that the open channel ended about 2 km inland. Lava was flowing into the ocean at the N part of the broad flow front. Observations on 9 July indicated that a blockage had formed upstream of Kapoho Crater, and by 10 July a small lobe was moving around the W side of the crater.

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)