Report on Kilauea (United States) — 30 December-5 January 2010
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 December-5 January 2010
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, 30 December-5 January 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 30 December-3 January, HVO reported that lava flowed SE from beneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the ocean at Waikupanaha. Lava was not seen entering the ocean on 4 and 5 January. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite and occasional visual observations revealed active lava flows on the pali. Incandescence was seen almost daily coming from Pu'u 'O'o crater. During an overflight of Pu'u 'O'o crater on 29 December, geologists saw that a part of the high point of the W rim had collapsed, and a new gas vent had opened up at base of the N wall.
The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a plume that drifted NE and NW, dropping small amounts of ash, and occasionally fresh spatter, downwind. Incandescence originated from an active and sometimes sloshing lava surface within an opening on the deep floor of the vent cavity.
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.