Report on Kilauea (United States) — 10 May-16 May 2017
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2017. 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 the lava delta at Kamokuna (the ocean entry area at Kilauea), which had been growing since late March, collapsed on 3 May. Two large cracks parallel to the coast were visible on 27 April, suggesting instability. Between 0935 and 0940 on 3 May a large steam plume appeared in the middle of the lava delta in the area of large cracks. Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra deposits were visible in the steaming area; that activity ended by 0940. Images acquired over the next 25 minutes showed a progressively weaker steam plume, and a subsiding delta. Photos of the ocean entry taken on 7 May showed multiple streams of lava flowing into the ocean.
During 10-16 May HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu'u 'O'o Crater, from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone, and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu'u 'O'o Crater's E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Surface lava flows were active above and near the pali.
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.