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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 29 May-4 June 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (29 May-4 June 2002)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Three main surface lava flows were visible at Kilauea during 29 May-2 June. The front of one flow was ~1.8 km from the coast. As of 2 June fires continued to burn that were ignited by a lava flow that began on 12 May. On 29 May the front of the fire was 800 m from Chain of Craters road, which was closed on 1 June after 1,530 acres burned overnight. By 1 June at 0700, when the fire was 15 days old, a total of 2,588 acres had burned downwind of the lava flow. Generally, seismicity across the volcano was at background levels. Volcanic tremor at Kilauea's summit was low, broken occasionally by short-lived long-period earthquakes. Pu`u `O`o had weak-to-moderate tremor. There were no signs of significant deformation at the volcano.

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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)