Report on Kilauea (United States) — 17 March-23 March 2010
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 March-23 March 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 March-23 March 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 17-23 March, HVO reported incandescence from an active lava surface about 200 m below a vent in the floor of Kilauea's Halema'uma'u crater. The lava surface circulated and both rose and drained through a pit in the cavity floor. A plume from the vent drifted mainly SW, dropping small amounts of ash and spatter downwind. Measurements on 19 March indicated that the sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit remained elevated at 500 tonnes per day. The 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.
Lava from beneath the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex flowed SE through the upper portion of a lava tube system and broke out onto the surface. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite, and visual observations, revealed active lava flows above the pali. Incandescence was sometimes seen from a vent low on the S wall of Pu'u 'O'o crater.
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.