Report on Kilauea (United States) — 11 May-17 May 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 May-17 May 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 May-17 May 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
HVO reported that two lava lakes at Kilauea were active during 11-17 May. The level of the summit lava lake fluctuated but remained mostly stable deep in the vent inset within the E wall of Halema'uma'u Crater. Lava from a vent above the south side cascaded down into the lake. A gas plume from the vent generally drifted SW or W and deposited very small amounts of ash nearby. At Pu'u 'O'o crater, lava mostly from vents near the W edge of the lake continued to fill in a perched lava lake in the center of the crater floor. The lake level fluctuated and occasionally overflowed the edges, sending lava onto the Pu'u 'O'o 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.