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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 24 November-30 November 2010


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 November-30 November 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, 24 November-30 November 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (24 November-30 November 2010)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 24-30 November, 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 between approximately 140 and 145 m below the crater floor, periodically rising about 20 m above that level. Nighttime incandescence has been visible from the Jaggar Museum on the NW caldera rim since early 2010. A plume from the vent mostly drifted SW and deposited ash nearby.

At the east rift zone, lava continued to flow through the TEB lava-tube system and fed surface flows on the coastal plain, breakout flows W and N of a county viewing area (located along Highway 130), and one or more ocean entries on the Puhi-o-Kalaikini delta W of Kalapana Gardens subdivision. A lava flow that broke out of the tube on 24 November advanced towards an abandoned house in Kalapana Gardens, and on 27 November, set fire to and destroyed the structure. Incandescence was visible from vents on the N part of the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor on 23 November before it started to spatter and feed a small lava flow. The lava flow continued to advance E during 24 November-1 December.

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)