Report on Kilauea (United States) — 17 November-23 November 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
17 November-23 November 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 November-23 November 2021. 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 summit eruption at Kilauea continued at a vent in the lower W wall of Halema`uma`u Crater. By 16 November the total volume of erupted lava was an estimated 30 million cubic meters, and the lake which had risen a total of 60 m since 29 September. During 17-23 November earthquake activity remained below background levels but volcanic tremor was elevated. Spattering and ponded lava within the vent were visible; lava entered the lake through the E part of the W wall cone, feeding an active area of the lake. Lava periodically oozed from the cooler, outer margins of the lake onto the lowest of the exposed down-dropped caldera floor blocks. The sulfur dioxide emission rate remained above background levels, and was 3,000-3,800 tonnes per day on 18 and 23 November. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.
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.