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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 9 January-15 January 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 January-15 January 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 January-15 January 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (9 January-15 January 2008)


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 when weather permitted, HVO reported that during 2-8 January activity from Kilauea's fissure segment D was concentrated at the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) shield and satellitic shields to the SE. Lava flows were noted from the tops and flanks of the shields and traveled S and E. On 8 January, the SE-most shield breached on the SE flank and issued a vigorous and channelized 'a'a lava flow. The 'a'a flow advanced SE during 8-10 January and stalled approximately 480-650 m from the upper reaches of the Royal Gardens subdivision on 10 January. On 13 January, one of four narrow and secondary lava flows initiated from the 8 January 'a'a flow, advancing along the E margin to 180 m N of the subdivision.

According to a news article, most of the upper portion of the Royal Gardens subdivision was abandoned after lava flows cut the highway that provided access to the subdivision during Kilauea's ongoing 25-year eruption. County officials later cleared a path through the cooled lava for a few remaining residents.

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), The Honolulu Advertiser