Report on Kilauea (United States) — 22 March-28 March 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 22-28 March HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. A small collapse of the S part of the crater wall at 0035 on 23 March was followed by a short time of increased spatter.
Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu'u 'O'o Crater, from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone, and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna from the end of the lava tube, about 20 m above the water; the ocean entry was not consistently visible during the week. Surface lava flows were active above the pali, with most of the activity located 1.9-2.9 km from the 61G vent. During 24-25 March HVO noted that a delta had begun to form at the ocean entry, for the first time since the previous one had collapsed on 31 December 2016.
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.