Report on Kilauea (United States) — 17 March-23 March 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
17 March-23 March 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, 17 March-23 March 2021. 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 two vents on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 17-23 March. Lava flowed from both the main vent and a vent several meters NE into the lake through submerged inlets. Another lava flow emerged from about halfway up the cone structure starting at 0220 on 16 March, but had ended by the next day.
The depth of the western part of the lake rose from about 221 m to 223 m and lava continued to circulate in that part. The E half of the lake remained solidified and lower that the W half, with the crusted E half expanding towards the W. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 650, 700, and 1,100 tons/day on 17, 18, and 19 March, respectively. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.
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.