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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 16 May-22 May 2007

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 May-22 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, 16 May-22 May 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (16 May-22 May 2007)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 16-22 May, lava from Kilauea continued to flow SE across a lava delta into the ocean at the Kamokuna entry. On 16 May, lava from the E arm of the Campout flow advancing along the coastal plain from the base of the Royal Gardens sub-division, reached the ocean at the newly-formed Poupou entry. On 18 May, field crews reported that the Poupou entry, about 1.6 km E of the Kamokuna entry, was 20 m wide and building a delta. 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 that initially increased on 12 May was scattered beneath the upper rift zone and S-flank areas.

According to a news article, new measurements revealed that the area of the 10 May bench collapse at East Lae'apuki lava delta was about 9.3 hectares (23 acres). Scientists reported that new cracks in the lava delta were observed within several hundred yards of the ocean's edge.

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), Honolulu Advertiser