Report on Kilauea (United States) — 20 July-26 July 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 July-26 July 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, 20 July-26 July 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 during 20-26 July the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea's Overlook vent. Several incandescent vents on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's floor were evident in webcam images. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to advance across the coastal plain. The most distal part of the flow had stalled on 18 July but was again active by 22 July. Based on National Park personnel observations, the flow front was about 370 m from the ocean by 24 July. At 0112 on 26 July lava reached the ocean. Nighttime webcam views of the flow field showed incandescent areas from skylights, and advancing lava on the pali and coastal plain.
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.