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Report on Kilauea (United States) — March 1982

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 3 (March 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Kilauea (United States) Small intrusions into E and SW rifts

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Kilauea (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198203-332010.

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United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Summit seismicity had increased to nearly normal daily counts by late December 1981. Since January, several very small intrusions (occasionally seismic but generally aseismic) have been detected by changes in tilt, gas emission, and fumarole temperatures in the E and SW rifts. By late March, tiltmeters showed that the summit area had recovered most of the roughly 100 µrad of deflation recorded during the intrusion of magma into the S summit region and SW rift 10-12 August. The inflation center was in the S caldera-upper SW rift area. A 45-minute swarm of 400-500 earthquakes that started about 1430 on 23 March indicated that magma was forcing open a new channel (or reopening an old one). The seismic swarm was not accompanied by any detectable ground deformation. Overall seismicity in the SW rift remained high in early April but seismicity in the E rift was still relatively unchanged.

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: N. Banks, HVO.