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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 13 January-19 January 2021


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
13 January-19 January 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 January-19 January 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (13 January-19 January 2021)


United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that low lava fountains from a vent on a cone on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater fed flows that traveled down a channel into a perched lava lake during 13-19 January. The western half of the lake deepened from 198 m to 202 m while the stagnant eastern half remained a few meters lower. The lake was perched 1-2 m above the rim. On 13 January a small portion of the cone collapsed, causing a second vent to open adjacent to the main vent and effuse lava for less than 20 minutes. The islands remained stationary in the E part of the lake; the dimensions of the largest island remained unchanged. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 4,700 tons/day on 14 January.

Geological Summary. Kilauea overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano in the island of Hawaii. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation since 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity at Halemaumau crater in the summit caldera until 1924. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1,500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and Southwest rift zones, which extend to the ocean in both directions. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 years old; 70% of the surface is younger than 600 years. The long-term eruption from the East rift zone between 1983 and 2018 produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroyed hundreds of houses, and added new coastline.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)