Logo link to homepage

Report on Kilauea (United States) — 12 November-18 November 2003

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 November-18 November 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 November-18 November 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (12 November-18 November 2003)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 12-17 November, areas of surface lava were visible upslope of Kilauea's coastal flat. Seismicity at Kilauea's summit continued at moderate levels, with one or two small low-frequency earthquakes per minute occurring at shallow depths beneath the summit caldera. There were some larger earthquakes at depths of a few kilometers. Also, during the report week small amounts of inflation and deflation occurred, including inflation on 17 November that started when the surface waves from a M 7.5 earthquake at Rat Island in the Aleutians reached Kilauea. The inflation was small, about 0.5 microradians at Pu`u `O`o tilt station and 0.3 microradians at Uwekahuna station.

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)