Kilauea Volcano | John Seach

john

Big Island, Hawaii

19.425 N, 155.292 W,
summit elevation 1222 m
Shield volcano

Kilauea is a highly active shield volcano situated on the Big  Island of Hawaii, part of the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain. The volcano has been in a state of nearly continuous eruption since 1983, characterized by effusive eruptions of basaltic lava and the formation of numerous lava flows. The volcano is located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and has been extensively studied by volcanologists due to its ongoing activity, providing valuable insights into the processes of shield volcano eruptions. Its activity has resulted in significant changes to the island's topography, including the formation of new land and the destruction of pre-existing structures.

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Kilauea volcano photos by John Seach

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Littoral explosion, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii.

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Surface Lava flows, Kilauea Volcano

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Kilauea summit crater glow, June 2009

skylight kilauea volcano, hawaii
Skylight, Kilauea volcano, east rift zone

lava flow closeup
Lava flow closeup, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

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Kilauea lava flow

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Lava flow Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

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Kilauea lava ocean entry

kilauea lava flow
Kilauea volcano lava flow

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Kilauea volcano lava ocean entry 2005

2021-23 Eruption
Renewed activity began at Halamaumau crater on 05 Jan 2023. A lava flow was visible on the crater floor.
An eruption began in Halemaumaucrater on September 29, 2021. New fissures  produced lava flows on top of the previous lava lake surface. A new lava lake formed.

2020 Eruption
A summit eruption began in Halemaumau crater at 9:30 pm local time on 20 December 2020. The eruption was preceded by volcano inflation over the past month and earthquake swarms on 2 December. This was the first activity at the volcano since the large flank eruption in 2018.

2018 Eruptions
During March 2018, lava continues to flow into the sea at Kilauea volcano. A small lava pond was visible in Pu'u 'O'o crater, and an active lava lake continues in Halemaumau crater at the summit.

2015 Lava Lake activity
The lava lake in the Overlook crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii overflowed on 28th April 2015. The lava spilled out onto the floor of Halemaumau crater. Pahoehoe lava flowed 130 m across the crater floor. The lava lake activity was accompanied by rockfalls, explosions and ashfall at Jaggar museum overlook. A perched lava lake has begun to form similar to lava lake activity seen during 1800s and 1900s. Additional volcanic activity is possible along the east rift zone between between Pauahi Crater and Pu'u O'o.

5th November 2014 update
Lava from Kilauea volcano continues to flow towards Pahoa, Hawaii. The flow front has temporarily stalled, but breakouts and inflation are occurring 160 m upslope. This indicates lava is still flowing through the system from Pu'u 'O'o crater. Residents in the lava flow path have been advised of possible evacuation. Access to Pahoa Village Road, between Apaa Street and the Post Office Road, is limited to residents only. Highway 130 remains open, but may be closed as lava approaches. Residents of Pahoa village heard methane explosions.

January 2013 Update
January 3, 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the current eruption at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. This is a remarkable eruption, and has been the longest eruption on the east rift zone in recorded history. The eruption has been continuous for so long that we have come to take it for granted. However the eruption will come to an end sometime. Currently the volcano is erupting at the summit and east rift zone. Lava continues to enter the ocean at several locations.

October 2012 Update
Two lava lake are present at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. The east pit lava lake in Pu'u O'o crater occasionally flows across the floor of the south pit. The summit lava lake in Halemaumau crater occasionally overflows the inner ledge. The surface of the lava lake varies from 60m to 150 m deep inside the pit. On the east rift zone an active lava flow is located at the base of the pali in the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. The lava contines to advance towards the ocean. Sulphur dioxide emission was high at 1200 tonnes per day on 28th September 2012.

2011 Fissure Eruption
A new fissure eruption has begun at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii on 5th March 2011. The floor of Pu'u O'o crater collapsed over a period of 10 minutes. The event was preceded by a rapid deflation of Pu'u O'o and increased tremor along Kilauea's middle east rift zone near Makaopuhi and Napau craters. There was also deflation at the summit. New fissure opened between Pu'u O'o and Napau crater. The fissure ejected lava spatter 20 m high.

2009 Bench Collapse
A bench collapse occurred at Waikupanaha ocean entry, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, on the afternoon of 17th February 2009 (local time). Four explosions were recorded between 12:45 and 1:15 pm. The lava delta and nearby areas remain dangerous and should not be approached. Bench collapse can occur without warning, and result in explosions and ejection of hot lava, and local waves.

2008 Summit Eruption
An explosive eruption occurred on 19th March 2008, at Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. This was the first explosive eruption in the summit crater since 1924. The explosion occurred at the location of the new gas vent which formed the week before. The eruption was probably phreatic, and created a crater 30 m in diameter. Debris was thrown as far as Crater Rim Drive near Halema`uma`u parking area 350 m away. Crater Rim Drive has been closed recently due to high level of gas emission in the area. The explosion occurred 3 miles from the town of Volcano with a population of 2200.

Kilauea Volcano Safety
Hiking at Kilauea volcano is a demanding activity, and is best pursued by those
who are physically fit, experienced in hiking, have suitable clothes, enough water, and be informed about the risks.

Deflation-inflation events at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii are caused by changes in a secondary magma chamber east of Halemaumau Crater at about 750 m below ground level. This secondary magma chamber produces episodic deformation events.

Further reading
Neal, C.A., Brantley, S.R., Antolik, L., Babb, J.L., Burgess, M., Calles, K., Cappos, M., Chang, J.C., Conway, S., Desmither, L. and Dotray, P., 2019. The 2018 rift eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea Volcano. Science363(6425), pp.367-374.

Cervelli, P.F. and Miklius, A., 2003. The shallow magmatic system of Kilauea Volcano. US Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap1676, pp.149-163.

Ingebritsen, S.E. and Scholl, M.A., 1993. The hydrogeology of Kilauea volcano. Geothermics22(4), pp.255-270.

Kilauea Volcano Eruptions

2021-23, 2020, 1983-2018, 1982, 1980, 1979, 1977, 1975, 1969-74, 1967-68, 1965, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1954, 1952, 1934, 1931-1932, 1930, 1929, 1927, 1906-24, 1905-06, 1903-04, 1902-03, 1897, 1896, 1823-94, 1820, 1790, 1750.
Earlier eruptions are not accurately dated.