Report on Kilauea (United States) — 20 January-26 January 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 January-26 January 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 January-26 January 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 20-26 January, HVO reported an active lava surface about 200 m below a vent in the floor of Kilauea's Halema'uma'u crater. The lava surface occasionally spattered, and both rose and drained through a hole in the cavity floor. A plume from the vent drifted multiple directions, dropping small amounts of ash, and occasionally fresh spatter, downwind. Lava from beneath the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex flowed SE through a lava tube system. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite and visual observations revealed active lava flows on top of the pali from lava-tube breakouts.
During an overflight of Pu'u 'O'o crater on 19 January scientists saw a recent but inactive lava flow across the bottom of the crater. On 22 January a small part of the crater rim collapsed in front of the web camera, revealing an incandescent vent at the base of the E wall. During 23-26 January, incandescence was seen from the vent, as well as from high on the E wall, the crater floor, and low on the S wall.
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.