Logo link to homepage

Report on Kilauea (United States) — 25 May-31 May 2016


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 May-31 May 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 May-31 May 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (25 May-31 May 2016)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that around 0650 on 24 May new lava flows broke out from the flanks of Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o cone. The first flow originated about 250 m from the rim of the cone's NE flank and traveled NW, and the second flow came from an area on the E flank, about 500 m from the cone's rim, and traveled SE. By 0830 the first flow was about 1 km long and the second one was about 700 m long. By the same time on 25 May the first flow had become channelized and a new 950-m-long lobe had descended NW. The other flow was active but had not significantly advanced.

The lava lake continued to circulate and eject spatter in the Overlook vent during 25-31 May; a rockfall into the lake on 26 May and briefly triggered sloshing and agitation of the lake. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 5 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater. Webcams recorded glow from multiple spatter cones on the Pu'u 'O'o Crater floor. The new lava flows extended about 1.2 km NW and SE by 27 May and continued to be active through 29 May.

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)