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


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
9 July-15 July 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 July-15 July 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (9 July-15 July 2008)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During most of 9-15 July 2008 the Kilauea summit and Pu`u `O`o cone continued to deflate. Small amounts of ash and elevated amounts of sulfur dioxide gas continued to issue from the Halema`uma`u vent.

At the east rift eruption site, an unusually high amount of sulfur dioxide gas issued from Pu`u `O`o crater on 9 July. More lava than usual continued to erupt from the TEB vent area during 9-12 July and flowed into the tube system, feeding multiple short surface flows. Lava also resumed flowing into the ocean at Waikupanaha. Surface flows within the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision were seen on the morning of 13 July; they may have reached the coastal plain the next day. Strong incandescence was seen from within Pu`u `O`o crater from the 10th through the 15th.

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)