Logo link to homepage

Report on Kilauea (United States) — 15 July-21 July 2009


Kilauea

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 July-21 July 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 July-21 July 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (15 July-21 July 2009)

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 15-20 July, HVO reported that lava flowed SE from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the Waikupanaha and Kupapa'u ocean entries. Thermal anomalies detected in satellite images and visual observations revealed active surface flows at several locations on the pali, and on the TEB flow field. A structure in the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision was destroyed on 16 July. Explosions from the Waikupanaha ocean entry were reported on 17 July. Lava was not seen entering the ocean on 21 July.

The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a diffuse white plume that drifted mainly SW. No lava or incandescence from the crater had been seen since a "deflation-inflation" event on 4 July. Small amounts of ash-sized "rock dust" were retrieved from collection bins placed near the plume during the reporting period. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit remained elevated; measurements were 400 and 1,100 tonnes per day on 17 and 20 July, 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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)