Report on Kilauea (United States) — 21 April-27 April 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 April-27 April 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, 21 April-27 April 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 the W vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea's Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 21-27 April. Lava flowed at a low rate from the main vent into the lake through crusted-over channels and submerged inlets. The depth of the lake was about 226-227 m and lava continued to circulate in the W part, though the active area continued to shrink; the E half of the lake remained solidified. Lava sometimes overflowed the margins of the lake. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 350, 550, 300, and 350 tons/day on 21, 22, 23, and 24 April, respectively. The rates were the lowest measured during the eruption, though elevated above the levels recorded in the months before the start of the eruption (20 December 2020). 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.