Report on Kilauea (United States) — 30 December-5 January 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 December-5 January 2016
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, 30 December-5 January 2016. 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 30 December-5 January. The lava lake continued to circulate and spatter in the Overlook vent. On 2 January part of the E rim of the Overlook vent collapsed into the lava lake, triggering an explosion that ejected tephra onto the rim of the vent. At 0318 on 4 January another explosion occurred from the collapse of part of the N wall.
Webcams recorded multiple incandescent outgassing vents within Pu'u 'O'o Crater and high on the northeast rim. During 30 December-1 January a few small lava flows erupted from the vents, and on 4 January a small lava flow erupted from a vent on the NE side of the crater floor. 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.
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.