Report on Kilauea (United States) — 18 May-24 May 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
18 May-24 May 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 May-24 May 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 18-24 May. The lava lake continued to circulate and eject spatter in the Overlook vent; some rockfall/wall collapse events occurred during 19-20 May. Webcams recorded glow from multiple spatter cones on the Pu'u 'O'o Crater floor and from skylights in the lava tube on the NE flank of the cone. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 5.8 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater. On 19 May HVO noted that webcams detected about 1 m of uplift of the Pu'u 'O'o Crater floor during the previous few days. During 19-20 May four small rockfalls from the crater wall resulted in disturbance to the lake surface or increased spattering.
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.