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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 1 February-7 February 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Kilauea (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (1 February-7 February 2023)


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that lava continued to erupt on Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater floor during 1-7 February. Activity was concentrated in the E half of the crater in a large, perched lava lake with well-defined levees, covering about 10 hectares. A smaller lake to the W was active in the basin of the 2021-2022 lava lake. Part of the E lake began to crust over on 1 February, forming a crusted isthmus through the center of the lake and two smaller areas of lava on the N and S sides. The lava fountain was located on the S side. Lava in each of the two smaller areas independently circulated in opposite directions from each other. At around 2315 lava fountaining ceased but resumed about 45 minutes later, rising 1-2 m. During 0100-0400 on 2 February lava from the S side flooded across the whole E lake, covering the isthmus, and returning the E lake to the size it was (10 hectares). The W Lake, and two smaller lava ponds in the central and S portions of the crater floor, remained relatively stable, though one of the ponds overflowed. Two small floating islands in the E lake sank during 2-3 February.

During 2-7 February the E lake, the W lake, and the two small lava ponds remained active and stable. The lava fountain continued to be active, though during 4-5 February bursts of activity caused the fountain to double in height. A second small lava fountain was temporarily active near the first fountain during 0300-0700 on 5 February. Starting at around 2100 on 5 February through 0900 on 6 February a large breakout occurred on the N portion of the crater floor covering an area equal to or slightly larger than the E lava lake. A smaller breakout S of the E lake occurred around 0000 on 6 February. The large breakout continued to be active on 6 February but was only weakly active by 7 February. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

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)