Report on Kilauea (United States) — 19 May-25 May 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
19 May-25 May 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, 19 May-25 May 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 lava at Kilauea's Halema`uma`u Crater lava lake circulated in a 20-m-diameter area on 19 May but was stagnant and crusted over on other days through 25 May. A few minor oozes of lava between the W vent and main island were occasionally visible. The depth of the lava lake was 229 m and had remained unchanged since 11 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100-150 tons per day during 19-23 May, close to the less than 50 tonnes per day measured during the non-eruptive period from late 2018 to late 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.