Report on Kilauea (United States) — 15 February-21 February 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 February-21 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, 15 February-21 February 2023. 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 eruption on the floor of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater continued during 15-21 February but at a decreased rate during the last half of the week. Lava erupted from three locations during 15-17 February. The lava lake in E half of the crater was active, had a small lava fountain, and remained at about 10 hectares in size; the smaller western lake in the basin of the 2021-2022 lava lake was also active. The smaller lava pond in the central portion of the crater floor had a small lava fountain, produced nearly continuous overflows, and channeled lava to the E lake. Activity in the E and central lakes diminished in the late afternoon on 17 February, and by 18 February both had stopped erupting. The western lake was active but at a greatly reduced level and lava only minimally circulated; the lake was mostly crusted over and about 10 m lower by 19 February. The lake produced small lava flows and intermittent crustal overturns during 19-20 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.