Report on Kilauea (United States) — 15 September-21 September 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 September-21 September 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, 15 September-21 September 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 15-21 September HVO reported that activity at Kilauea continued from the summit caldera and the east rift zone. At the summit caldera, the level of the lava-pool surface in the deep pit within the Halema'uma'u crater remained mostly stable at about 160 m below the crater floor; periodically the lava rose 20-40 m above the stable surface level. Glow from the vent was also visible at night. A plume from the vent drifted SW and deposited ash nearby. At Pu'u 'O'o crater, incandescence emanated from a lava flow on the SW floor during 16-19 September. At the east rift zone, lava that flowed through the TEB lava-tube system mainly fed the Puhi-o-Kalaikini ocean entry. Weak thermal anomalies detected in satellite imagery during 17-19 September suggested little to no lava flow activity on the pali or the coastal plain.
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.