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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 3 March-9 March 2021


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 March-9 March 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, 3 March-9 March 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (3 March-9 March 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 2-8 March through a submerged inlet. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 1,000 tons/day during 2-3 March, and 800 tons/day on 7 March. The depth of the western part of the lake fluctuated around 219-220 m. The E half of the lake remained solidified and lower that the W half, with the crusted E half expanding towards the W. Rangefinder measurements and visual observations indicated that the eastern and western portions of the lake were rising at the same rate, suggesting that lava was accumulating under the crusted eastern portion.

In recent weeks a part of the cone, several meters NE of the main vent, occasionally fed short (less than 100 m) lava flows that entered the lake at the crusted margins. During 5-7 March flows from this vent poured lava into the lake at several shifting inlets, though lava also accumulated on the lake margin within 50 m of the vent. By midday on 7 March the flows had built a perched lava pond on the NW lake margin, but it abruptly collapsed just after 1300. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

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)