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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 10 February-16 February 2021


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 February-16 February 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 February-16 February 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (10 February-16 February 2021)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that a vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 10-16 February. The western part of the lake deepened from 215 m to around 217 m and the lake surface actively overturned at “plate” boundaries. The W end of the lava lake was perched by 3 m above the distal margin of recent overflows. A series of surficial cracks separated the W part of the lake from the stagnant E part. Lava spillovers just N of the inlet of lava sporadically flowed around the NW margin of the perched lake. Gas jetting at two locations above the W vents and two bursts of spatter were observed during 9-10 February. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 1,600 and 1,100 tons/day on 10 and 12 February, respectively. During 15-16 February a few lava flows were visible along the N and E margins of the E part of the lake.

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)