Report on Kilauea (United States) — 24 December-30 December 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 December-30 December 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 December-30 December 2008. 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 during 24-30 December lava flowed SE through a tube system from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex, reaching the Waikupanaha ocean entry. Thermal anomalies were detected on satellite imagery at the base of the pali and on the coastal plain. Explosions at the ocean entry were noted on 26 and 29 December.
Earthquakes were variously located beneath the caldera, along the S-flank fault, and along the SW rift zone. The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a predominantly white plume that drifted mainly SW. Following a decreasing trend since 15 December, the vent produced minimal amounts of tephra that mostly consisted of fine rock dust. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit was 400 and 800 tonnes per day on 24 and 29 December, respectively; the 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.
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.