Report on Kilauea (United States) — 12 July-18 July 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 July-18 July 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, 12 July-18 July 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 12-18 July HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. 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 (which had many small spattering sites along the margin) 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. Several large cracks running parallel to the coastline spanned the width of the delta; several small collapses at the leading edge of the delta were noted on 11 July. Surface lava flows were active above and on the pali, and on the coastal plain within 1 km of the base of the pali.
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.