Report on Kilauea (United States) — 12 August-18 August 2009
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 August-18 August 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 August-18 August 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 12-18 August, 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 ocean entry. Thermal anomalies detected in satellite images and visual observations revealed active surface flows on the flow field.
The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a diffuse white plume that drifted mainly SW. Small amounts of ash-sized "rock dust," were retrieved from collection bins placed near the plume; possibly fresh tephra, including Pele's Hair, was collected on 12 August. Rushing gas sounds were often heard in the vicinity of the vent. During 12-13 August, a new, brightly incandescent hole appeared on the floor of the vent. The vent increased in size and incandescence continued to be seen on the web camera during the reporting period. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit remained elevated; 2,050 and 900 tonnes per day was measured on 12 and 14 August; 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.