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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 28 January-3 February 2004

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 January-3 February 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 January-3 February 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (28 January-3 February 2004)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 29 January to 1 February mild volcanic activity occurred at Kilauea, with incandescence visible at vents in Pu`u `O`o's crater and small surface flows on the central or southern part of the rootless shield complex, an area ~0.5 km SW of Pu`u `O`o. Starting on 18 January, when the MLK vent formed, the distance across the summit caldera decreased significantly, ending a period of increasing extension rate since the Mother's Day event in May 2002. During the report period, weak tremor occurred at Kilauea's summit along with a few long-period earthquakes. Tremor at Pu`u `O`o remained moderate. Small deflation and inflation events occurred at the summit and at Pu`u `O`o.

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)