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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 16 April-22 April 2003


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
16 April-22 April 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 April-22 April 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (16 April-22 April 2003)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During the week ending 22 April, Kilauea continued to erupt, sending lava down its SE flank either traveling over the land surface or through tubes. Lava entered the sea at the West Highcastle entry; activity there was sometimes weak, though one or more glowing areas were typically seen.

On 16 April a large tract of land not over-run by surrounding lava (a kipuka or ahu in the local parlance) remained within the Kohola lava flow, still ~30 cm above the top of inflated lavas that surround it. On the eastern margin of the swath of lava flows going down the steep slopes of Pulama pali, one partly crusted-over lava stream was highly visible. The crater of Pu`u `O`o was dark and obscured by fume. The previous day ended with a small inflation-deflation event recorded at both Kilauea's summit and Pu`u `O`o. These tilt changes began at Uwekahuna.

During 16-17 April, the Uwekahuna tiltmeter at Kilauea's summit recorded three small inflations, the last apparently right at its crest. Pu`u `O`o has generally followed suit, though in this case showing only two of the inflations very well. These tilts are not major but continue to illustrate the clear connection between Kilauea's summit, where most tilt events start, and Pu`u `O`o, 20 km away, where the tilt events follow a few minutes later.

Seismicity during the week was at low to normal levels. Instruments continued to register the summit swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor, which began last June. Volcanic tremor at Pu`u `O`o remained elevated, as has been the norm for more than a week.

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)