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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 29 September-5 October 2010


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
29 September-5 October 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, 29 September-5 October 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (29 September-5 October 2010)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 29 September-5 October, 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 Halema'uma'u crater remained mostly stable at about 150 m below the crater floor; periodically the lava rose 15-35 m above that level. Glow from the vent was also visible at night. A plume from the vent drifted mainly SW and deposited ash nearby.

At the east rift zone, lava that flowed through the TEB lava-tube system mainly fed the Puhi-o-Kalaikini ocean entry. A lava flow that broke out of the lava-tube system W of the end of Highway 130 on 26 September produced a flow E toward Kalapana Gardens that stalled on 28 September. Two days later a new breakout lava flow began near the end of Highway 130, just west of Kalapana Gardens subdivision. The flow sparked fires in a small, sparsely forested kipuka, and remained active through 4 October.

During 29 September-4 October, incandescence was visible from a skylight on the lava tube downslope from the rootless shield complex. A large skylight on top of a rootless shield, built over the TEB lava tube mid-way between the top of the pali and the TEB vent, also showed incandescence. On 29 September, lava began to erupt from a vent on the NW edge of Pu'u 'O'o crater and flowed E across the floor. The lava flow in Pu'u 'O'o crater continued to be active through the reporting period.

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)