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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 5 December-11 December 2007


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 December-11 December 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, 5 December-11 December 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (5 December-11 December 2007)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that web camera views of fissure D from Kilauea's 21 July fissure eruption were mostly blocked by fog and fumes during 5-9 December. A brief view on 5 December revealed several overflows on the W side of Pond 1, a perched lava pond in the eruption channel formed by fissure D. A pilot report from an overflight on 6 December noted that all of the activity was close to fissure D and none of the SE Thanksgiving Eve breakout (TEB) flows traveled beyond 1.5 km. On 8 December, minor incandescence was observed in Pu'u 'O'o crater for the first time since 31 August, and was accompanied by a possible inflationary signal. Clear web camera views on 9 and 10 December revealed that the TEB shield continued to build vertically and was an estimated 15 m high. A few small earthquakes were located beneath the summit area and along the upper E rift zone and S-flank fault.

Geological Summary. 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)