Report on Kilauea (United States) — 5 December-11 December 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 December-11 December 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 December-11 December 2018. 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 lava at Kilauea’s Fissure 8 cone was last visible on 4 September, signaling the end of the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruptive phase. Consequently, the end of the LERZ eruption also marks the end of the over-arching, on-going eruption at Kilauea that began at the East Rift Zone (ERZ) in 1983. That determination was made by HVO in part by using the Global Volcanism Program guideline that an eruption should be considered over on the date of the last eruptive activity, and when there has not been renewed activity in the following three months.
HVO noted that geophysical data continued to show magma being supplied to Kilauea, including the refilling of the middle ERZ, and reminded the public that Kilauea remains an active volcano. As of 4 December the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.
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.