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Report on Kilauea (United States) — November 1982


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 11 (November 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Kilauea (United States) Intrusion into upper E rift

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Kilauea (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:11. Smithsonian Institution.


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A shallow earthquake swarm began in the summit region at about 1730 on 9 December. Epicenters soon migrated into the upper E rift, to the vicinity of Lua Manu and Kokoolau Craters (1.4-3.2 km from the caldera rim). Preliminary locations indicate depths from 0.5 to less than 4 km beneath the surface. The largest earthquake had a magnitude of 3.5. No harmonic tremor was recorded.

Tiltmeter records from the NW caldera rim (Uwekahuna Vault) showed slow deflation starting about 1730 and accelerating about 1830. Just before 2000, the deflation rate decreased, and by 2030 slow inflation had resumed. Total deflation was about 5 µrad, suggesting that 2 x 106 m3 of magma from the summit chamber was intruded into the E Rift.

As of early 10 December, earthquake counts were slightly elevationated in the swarm area and slow summit inflation was continuing. This event marked Kilauea's 17th intrusive event since the magnitude 7.2 earthquake of November 1975. Four eruptions have occurred since the 1975 earthquake.

Geological Summary. 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: E. Wolfe, HVO.