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Report on Kilauea (United States) — October 1993

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 10 (October 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Kilauea (United States) Ocean entries remain active; partial collapse at episode-53 vent

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:10. Smithsonian Institution.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The . . . eruption continued in October as lava entered the ocean along a 30-m-wide front, mostly from two distinct entry points. The volume of lava entering the ocean declined on 5 October and no lava was visible in any of the skylights. By the following day, surface flows were active on the coastal plain, and on 7 October, lava entered the ocean on the W side of Kamoamoa delta. Surface lava flows that accumulated on parts of the bench in late September built up to the elevation of the main delta. Portions of the W Kamoamoa bench collapsed into the ocean throughout the month. By 14 October, lower benches had formed below the original bench. Both entry points appeared to have one tube entry and several surface flows building into the ocean. Explosions were noted in the surf at both entries. By 22 October, there were two prominent entry points into the ocean and two additional, more diffuse entries. For most of the month lava traveled to the ocean through lava tubes. A small surface flow broke out of the Kamoamoa tube and extended <100 m before stagnating.

Upslope of the Kamoamoa area, lava was visible through a skylight at 60 m elevation and remained active throughout the month. One skylight at 330 m elevation was covered by a small aa flow sometime between 28 September and 7 October. A new collapse area was noted E of the 700 m elevation skylight in late September. Part of the E-53 spatter cone had collapsed by early October. Cracks and holes in the cone were incandescent, suggesting that lava was still erupting at the E-53 vent.

The level of the lava pond at Pu`u `O`o was ~83 m below the N spillway rim for most of October. Strong upwelling and spattering was observed on the W side of the pond on 7 October. A powerful current in the pond circulated SW to NE. There was continual moderate spattering along the E and NE wall of the pond.

Eruption tremor continued . . . at low and steady amplitudes ~2x background levels. Intermediate, long-period microearthquake counts were high from 4-9 October, peaking on the 5th and 6th at >100 /day. Many of these events were large enough to locate, including a large bench collapse on 19 October. Low-level volcanic tremor persisted near the ocean entry point. Short-period counts were low beneath the summit and about average along the east rift.

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.

Information Contacts: T. Mattox and P. Okubo, HVO.