Hawaii Volcano Eruption

Overview of recent Hawaii Volcano Eruption

Ongoing Hawaii Volcano Eruption occurs at Kilauea Volcano. It is one of the most active volcanoes of the earth. In historic times there have also been eruptions at Mauna Loa, Loihi, Haleakala, Hualalai. The most recent eruption on Mauna Kea volcano was 4,600 years ago.

The ongoing eruption at Kilauea is called Puuoo-Kupaianaha eruption. This eruption started in 1983 and is the most voluminous eruption from the east rift zone of the volcano in the past five centuries. This eruption added 206 hectares to Kilauea’s shore in the south. Also it destroyed over 200 structures and 14 km highway.

From 1983 to 1986 a series of lava fountains formed the Puuoo cinder-and-spatter cone. After that the eruptions shifted towards the coast. There a broad shield called Kupaianaha was built up. In 1992 the eruptions returned to Puuoo. Since then the Puuoo cone had two collapses. Eruptions from this vent are still going on.

The vents for this volcanic activity and the resulting lava flows are within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is always worth a visit.

Lava fountain from Kamoamoa eruption at Kilauea, 8th March 2011 (USGS).

Lava fountain from Kamoamoa eruption at Kilauea, 8th March 2011 (USGS).

Hawaiian eruption type

A Hawaii volcano eruption often is very characteristic and thus known as an Hawaiian Eruption. Volcanologists distinguish differnt types of eruptions and the Hawaiian eruption is one of those.

During these eruptions lava flows relativle gentle from the vent. Although lava fountains and small ash plumes may be present. Typically these are basaltic, effusive eruptions. The viscosity of the lava is low, which means they are easy to deform and may flow easily. Also these lavas have a low gas content. This is the reason why they do not tend to produce big explosions. Furthermore the erupted lavas are quite hot.

Hawaiian eruptions may occur along fissure vents. Lava fountains or even lava curtains create a spectacular view for these eruptions.

The Hawaiian eruption type is typical for hotspot volcanoes like the Hawaiian Volcanoes, Galapagos or Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion. Where this eruption type dominates, flat shield volcanoes are created.

Fissure eruption at Kilauea Volcano, 6 March 2011

Fissure eruption at Kilauea Volcano, 6 March 2011

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