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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 6 May-12 May 2015


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 May-12 May 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 May-12 May 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (6 May-12 May 2015)


United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 6-12 May HVO reported that the circulating lava lake occasionally rose and fell in the pit within Kilauea's Halema'uma'u Crater. Lava overflowed the rim multiple times almost daily, and since the first overflow on 28 April, had built up a rim that by 8 May was 10 m higher than the Halema'uma'u crater floor. Contemporaneously with deflation detected during 10-12 May, the lake receded, and by 12 May was barely visible from the Jaggar Museum.

At Pu'u 'O'o Crater, lava erupted from several vents multiple times onto the crater floor. An overflight on 8 May revealed an active lava pond in an isolated vent W of the main crater. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active with three areas of breakouts within and along the flow-field margins, within 8 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o. Most of the surface flows were fed from the 21 February breakout and located less than 3 km from the NE rim of Pu'u 'O'o. Forest burned about 8 km NE of the 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.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)