Report on Kilauea (United States) — 9 May-15 May 2007
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2007
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 9-15 May, lava from Kilauea continued to flow SE across a lava delta into the ocean at the Kamokuna entry. Incandescence was visible from several vents in the Pu'u 'O'o crater and from breakouts on, above, and at the base of the Pulama pali fault scarp. Earthquake activity was scattered at the S edge of the summit, upper E rift zone between Puhimau and Pauahi craters, and S-flank areas. On 10 May, approximately 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of the East Lae'apuki bench collapsed, starting from the E-side and moving progressively westward. Each section of collapse generated a steam plume, occasionally blackened with rock dust, which rose to about 0.1-0.3 km (200-1,000 ft) a.s.l. The plumes resulted from the explosive interaction between seawater and incandescent rock exposed immediately after each section collapsed. On 11 May, HVO scientists surveyed the collapse and mapped cracks inland of the sea cliff. Rock fragments covered a 1.2 hectare (3 acre) area.
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.