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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 15 November-21 November 2000

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 November-21 November 2000
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 November-21 November 2000. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (15 November-21 November 2000)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Lava continued to flow across the coastal flat and into the sea near the Kamokuna entry. Surface flows were visible sporadically during the week. At 1408 on 16 November tour pilots observed a large collapse of the bench (land built out from the sea cliff) at Kamokuna that sent ~30 % of the bench into the sea in ~6 seconds. The large explosion that followed the collapse produced a large amount of spatter and a big, billowing, mostly white plume that rose to 600-1,800 m a.s.l. None of the spatter was directed inland. Overall, volcanic tremor at Pu`u `O`o vent remained at a moderate level. Earthquake activity related to volcanism was low across the island, but for several hours on the night of 15 November a giant earthquake (M 8) in New Ireland, Paupau New Guinea caused slow, peak-to-peak oscillations at Kilauea's summit seismometer and set off alarms at two tiltmeters. Otherwise, the tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit crater and along the east rift zone showed flat signals.

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.

Sources: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), US Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program