Research Article

The 2018 rift eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea Volcano

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Science  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6425, pp. 367-374
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7046

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Connecting caldera collapse

The Kīlauea Volcano on the island of Hawai‘i erupted for 3 months in 2018. Neal et al. present a summary of the eruption sequence along with a variety of geophysical observations collected by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The cyclic inflation, deflation, and eventual collapse of the summit was tied to lava eruption from lower East Rift Zone fissures. A total volume of 0.8 cubic kilometers of magma erupted, roughly the equivalent of 320,000 swimming pools, which matched the change in volume at the summit.

Science, this issue p. 367


In 2018, Kīlauea Volcano experienced its largest lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption and caldera collapse in at least 200 years. After collapse of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on 30 April, magma propagated downrift. Eruptive fissures opened in the LERZ on 3 May, eventually extending ~6.8 kilometers. A 4 May earthquake [moment magnitude (Mw) 6.9] produced ~5 meters of fault slip. Lava erupted at rates exceeding 100 cubic meters per second, eventually covering 35.5 square kilometers. The summit magma system partially drained, producing minor explosions and near-daily collapses releasing energy equivalent to Mw 4.7 to 5.4 earthquakes. Activity declined rapidly on 4 August. Summit collapse and lava flow volume estimates are roughly equivalent—about 0.8 cubic kilometers. Careful historical observation and monitoring of Kīlauea enabled successful forecasting of hazardous events.

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