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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 11 July-17 July 2018

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 July-17 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, 11 July-17 July 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (11 July-17 July 2018)


Kilauea

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 within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 11-17 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.

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. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the summit were very low.

Fountaining at Fissure 8 continued, producing Pele's hair and other volcanic glass that fell within Leilani Estates. The fountains continued to feed the lava flow that traveled NE, and then SSE, W of Kapoho Crater. A few channel overflows occurred. The channelized ‘a’a flow reached the ocean on 12 July, producing a large plume of laze (a corrosive steam plume mixed with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic glass particles), and covering the Kua O Ka La Charter School and Ahalanui Beach Park. Lava entered the ocean at several points along a broad 6-km-wide flow front, though the main entry area was at Ahalanui (750 m NE of Isaac Hale Park) by 17 July. On 13 July a new island, 6-9 m in diameter, formed a few meters offshore, possibly fed by a submarine tumulus. On 16 July explosions were noted at the main ocean entry, some were strong. Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency noted that an explosion early in the morning ejected tephra that injured 23 people on a nearby tour boat. That same day volcanologists using a radar gun measured an average flow velocity of 29 km/hour of lava exiting Fissure 8.

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.

Sources: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency