Report on Kilauea (United States) — 13 August-19 August 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 August-19 August 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 August-19 August 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 13-19 August HVO reported that the circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. Gas emissions remained elevated. The plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash, spatter, and Pele's hair onto nearby areas; smaller particles may have been dropped several kilometers away. On 15-18 August glow was visible during the night above outgassing pits on the northeast, south, and southeast edges of Pu`u `O`o's crater floor and at skylights along the June 27th flow lava tube. On 12 August these pits at the edges of the crater floor were identified in an overflight. The June 27th flow continued to advance into forest NE of Pu`u `O`o. The tube-fed flow slowed and widened over several days, and its distal tip was 9.4 km from the vent (straight-line distance) on 18 August. The flow also hosted a broad area of lava flow breakouts mid-way along its length that reached the forest about 5 km NE of the vent, on the N side of the current flow.
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.