Report on Kilauea (United States) — 23 March-29 March 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 March-29 March 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 March-29 March 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
HVO reported that at Kilauea's east rift zone small areas of incandescence in Pu'u 'O'o crater were visible through the web camera during 23-24 March. The lava lake in the deep pit within Halema'uma'u crater was crusted over; frequent rockfalls produced a few brown-tinged plumes. On 25 March the lava lake reappeared as lava streamed across and eventually covered the floor of the pit. The next day lava returned to Pu'u 'O'o crater about 20 days after the crater floor collapsed on 5 March. Lava slowly filled the deepest parts of the crater forming a lava lake. The lava lake within Halema'uma'u crater again crusted over. During 27-29 March the lava lake in Pu'u 'O'o crater circulated and was fed from two closely-spaced sources in the W center of the lake.
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.