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Report on Kilauea (United States) — June 1986

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 6 (June 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Kilauea (United States) Intermittent activity precedes episode 47

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Kilauea (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198606-332010.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Episode 47 (E-47). After 21 days of quiet, intermittent activity resumed at Pu`u `O`o at 1600 on 23 June. For nearly 2 days, spatter and lava spillovers remained within the flat area around the conduit, or moved just over the edge of the spillway. Intermittent fountaining began 25 June at 1400, giving way to sustained fountaining of E-47 at 0419 the next morning. Fountaining ended the same afternoon, and reached maximum heights of 225 m.

During the last 2 hours of activity there were three high fountain jets, ~50 minutes apart, that lasted several seconds . . . . Theodolite measurements of these jets, obtained for the first time, gave maximum heights of 550 m. Intermittent fountaining occurred the last 20 minutes of the episode, ending at 1635.

Three main flows were generated, two extending 2.4 km S and 3.6 km SE mostly over previous lava flows, and one 2.5 km to the N that burned some trees. During E-47, the cone increased 2 m in height, to 257 m above the pre-l983 surface.

Gradual subsidence of the summit commenced at 1000 on 25 June and changed to rapid decline about 0400 the next morning, just before the onset of sustained fountaining. Summit subsidence ended at 1900 with a total loss of 11.1 µrad. By 30 June the summit had regained 5 µrad (figure 43). Sustained high-amplitude tremor started at 0257 on 26 June and ceased at 1614.

Further Reference. Wilson, L., and Head, J., 1988, Nature of local magma storage zones and geometry of conduit systems below basaltic eruption sites: Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea East Rift, Hawaii, example: JGR, v. 93, p. 14785-14792.

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: C. Heliker, R. Koyanagi, and R. Hanatani, HVO.