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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 17 July-23 July 2002


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
17 July-23 July 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 July-23 July 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (17 July-23 July 2002)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 16-22 July, surface lava flows were visible traveling on the coastal flat, down the Pulama pali scarp, and down Paliuli, the steep slope and cliff below Pulama pali and just above the coastal flat. On 20 July at 1900 part of the westernmost lava flow reached Chain of Craters road, and by 0445 the next day it was entering the sea in two areas. The active flow front moved relatively quickly for lava at Kilauea on nearly flat ground; the lava flow moved 610 m in 18 hours (35 m/h). Generally, seismicity was at normal levels, except for the continued swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor that has been ongoing since early June. The swarm increased slightly in the last several days of the report period. Slow deflation occurred at Pu`u` O`o.

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)