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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 1 August-7 August 2018

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 August-7 August 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, 1 August-7 August 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (1 August-7 August 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 within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 1-2 August, with lava flowing through the channel and into the ocean producing laze at several points along a broad 2-km-wide flow front at Ahalanui. A few spillovers from the channel set vegetation on fire. By 3 August the lava-flow velocity in the channel was low and on 4 August the output at Fissure 8 had waned. Part of the flow field shifted W about 250 m; the westernmost edge was about 70 m NE of the boat ramp in Isaac Hale Park by 5 August. The lava channel was completely crusted over by 6 August, and a lava lake bubbled in the Fissure 8 cone. The laze plumes at the ocean entry were greatly diminished. During 7-8 August the lava lake in Fissure 8 was 5-10 m below the spillway into the channel. A decreasing number of small active ooze outs near the coast were visible.

A collapse event at the summit was recorded at 1155 on 2 August. Seismicity increased afterwards as has been typical since early on in the LERZ eruption, but then decreased along with the rate of deformation. By 7 August deformation had almost stopped. The quiet conditions at the summit represented a significant change from the pattern of seismicity and deformation detected over the past several months.

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)