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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 25 July-31 July 2018

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 July-31 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, 25 July-31 July 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (25 July-31 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 18-24 July. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated at Fissure 8, feeding lava flows that continued to spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and entered the ocean at Ahalanui.

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 about every other day (38.5 and 53.5 hours in between a few of the events). 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; lava occasionally overflowed the channel, and on 28 July ignited nearby vegetation. Small plumes of laze (a corrosive steam plume mixed with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic glass particles) were generated at several points along a broad 2-km-wide flow front at Ahalanui. The westernmost edge was less than 175 m NE of the boat ramp in Isaac Hale Park (by 30 July).

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)