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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 29 December-4 January 2022


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December-4 January 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December-4 January 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (29 December-4 January 2022)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that lava effusion intermittently continued from a vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater during 29 December 2021 to 4 January 2022. Effusion at the vent paused on the evening of 29 December and the lake mostly crusted over, though lava oozed over the edge of the lake margins in several areas, suggesting a continuing supply of molten lava below the crust. Parts of the crusted lake overturned during 2000-2300. Occasional minor activity at the vent was visible during the morning of 30 December, and lava again began effusing form the vent at 1445. Several large lava overflows of the lake occurred in the evening and bright glow was visible in the evening sky from Volcano to lower Puna. Lava effusion was low during 1-2 January and by 0200 on 2 January the lake once again began to crust over. A large breakout along the N margin of the lake was active. Effusion ceased during 2-4 January; the lake was mostly crusted over except a few overturns N of the vent were noted. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.

Geological Summary. Kilauea overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano in the island of Hawaii. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation since 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity at Halemaumau crater in the summit caldera until 1924. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1,500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and Southwest rift zones, which extend to the ocean in both directions. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 years old; 70% of the surface is younger than 600 years. The long-term eruption from the East rift zone between 1983 and 2018 produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroyed hundreds of houses, and added new coastline.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)