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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 27 February-4 March 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 February-4 March 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, 27 February-4 March 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (27 February-4 March 2008)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Based on observations during overflights, and web camera views when weather permitted, HVO reported that during 27 February-4 March activity from Kilauea's fissure segment D was concentrated at the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) shield and satellitic shields to the E and SE. A pahoehoe flow ponded between the rootless shields and Kalalua Cone. Two lava flow lobes advanced through Royal Gardens subdivision and destroyed three abandoned homes by 28 February. One lobe reached the base of the Royal Gardens kipuka and Campout flow from early 2007.On 1 March the lobes merged and cut off the road access to the homes of the last two known residents. Incandescence from the TEB vent was noted during 29 February and 2-3 March.

Diffuse incandescence was observed in Pu'u 'O'o crater through the fume during 27 February and 1-3 March. Earthquakes were located beneath Halema'uma'u crater, along the S-flank faults, beneath the summit, N of Makaopuhi crater, and along the upper E and SW rift zones. Sulfur dioxide emission rates from the summit area were elevated at 2-4 times background values where levels have been since early January. The emission rate was about 970 tonnes per day on 3 March, compared to a background rate of 150-200 tons per day.

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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)