Report on Kilauea (United States) — 9 May-15 May 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
9 May-15 May 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 9-15 May HVO reported that the circulating lava lake periodically rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. On 14 May laser measurements indicated that the lava-lake surface was about 67 m below the Halema'uma'u Crater floor. Almost daily measurements indicated that the gas plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash, and occasionally fresh spatter from an active source at the SE edge of the lava lake, onto nearby areas. Incandescence was visible from both a lava pond in a small pit on the E edge and a small spatter cone on the SE edge of the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor, and from two skylights on the uppermost part of the lava-tube system. Geologists observed slowly advancing lava flows on 13 May that were about 1.4 km from the coast. A short lava flow issued from an incandescent vent on the S part of Pu'u 'O'o's 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.