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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 3 February-9 February 2021


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
3 February-9 February 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, 3 February-9 February 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (3 February-9 February 2021)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that lava from a vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater streamed down the cone into a perched lava lake during 3-9 February. The western half of the lake dropped from 213 m on 3 February to 211 m on 4 February and stayed at that level during 5-6 February; the drop in lake level was likely the result of summit deflation that was detected by tiltmeters. The lake level had risen to 214 m by the morning of 7 February coincident with the onset of summit inflation. A small dome fountain was visible at the entry point of lava into the lake on 8 February. The stagnant E half of the lake, separated by a series of surface cracks, was about 5 m lowed than the W half.

Geological Summary. 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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)