Report on Kilauea (United States) — 15 December-21 December 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 December-21 December 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 December-21 December 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 15-21 December, HVO reported that activity at Kilauea continued from the summit caldera and the east rift zone. At the summit caldera, the level of the lava-pool surface in the deep pit within Halema'uma'u crater remained mostly stable at approximately 130 m below the crater floor, periodically rising 20-30 m higher. Nighttime incandescence has been visible from the Jaggar Museum on the NW caldera rim since early 2010. A plume from the vent drifted SW and SE, when visible through fog, and deposited ash and fresh spatter nearby.
At the east rift zone, lava that broke out of the Quarry tube onto the surface at a saddle between two rootless shields at around the 610 m elevation, continued to advance in two branches. The E branch advanced along the E edge of the Quarry flow to about the 60-m elevation and burned small remnants of a forest. Incandescence from a prominent but small spatter cone on the north-central part of the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor continued. Lava from a second spatter cone, located on the NW edge of the crater, flowed across the W side of the crater floor.
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.