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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 12 December-18 December 2007


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
12 December-18 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, 12 December-18 December 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (12 December-18 December 2007)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Based on overflights and web camera views, HVO reported that fissure segment D from Kilauea's 21 July fissure eruption continued to feed perched lava ponds within a lava flow that frequently overflowed its channel edges during 12-18 December. An overflight on 13 December revealed that flows from the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) were limited to breakouts at the base of the shield and were not active past 800 m from the source. Lava spattered and overturned in Pond 1 and overflowed the rim. On 16 December, a 4-5-m-high hornito at the summit of the TEB shield was active. On 17 December, lava from the TEB was about 1.1 km SE from fissure D and fume puffed from the top of the shield about every 15-20 minutes when visible. During 17-18 December, crust overturned in a new lava pond that had formed from a seep on the E side of Pond 3, and lava in the pond overflowed the margins. A few small earthquakes were located beneath the summit, and along the upper and lower E rift zones 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)