Report on Kilauea (United States) — 9 December-15 December 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
9 December-15 December 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 December-15 December 2015. 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 seismicity beneath Kilauea's summit, upper East Rift Zone, and Southwest Rift Zone was at background levels during 9-15 December. The lava lake continued to circulate and spatter in the Overlook vent. Webcams recorded multiple incandescent outgassing vents within Pu'u 'O'o. A new incandescent and fuming vent, reported on 10 December, appeared to be from a small collapse into an older, but still hot lava tube. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 6 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater, burning some areas of forest.
Geological Summary. Kilauea overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano in the island of Hawaii. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation since 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity at Halemaumau crater in the summit caldera until 1924. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1,500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and Southwest rift zones, which extend to the ocean in both directions. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 years old; 70% of the surface is younger than 600 years. The long-term eruption from the East rift zone between 1983 and 2018 produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroyed hundreds of houses, and added new coastline.