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Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
kilauea

Summary of Historical Eruptions, 1750 - Present

Table source and notes

Year Start
(mo-day)
Duration
(days)
Eruptive Subdivision Area Covered
(km2)
Volume
(km3)
1983 Jan-3 >9,130 (s)(v) ER (u) 119.4 3.3
1982 Sep-25 <1 C 0.8 0.003
1982 Apr-30 <1 C 0.3 0.0005
1979 Nov-16 1 ER 0.3 0.00058
1977 Sep-13 18 ER 7.8 0.0329
1975 Nov-29 (bb) <1 C 0.3 0.00022
1974 Dec-31 <1 SWR 7.5 0.0143 (w)
1974 Sep-19 <1 C 1.0 0.0102 (aa)
1974 Jul-19 3 C, ER 3.1 0.0066
1973 Nov-10 30 ER (z) 1.0 0.0027
1973 May-5 <1 ER (x) 0.3 0.0012 (y)
1972 Feb-3 900 (s) ER (t) 46 0.162
1971 Sep-24 5 C, SWR 3.9 0.0077 (w)
1971 Aug-14 <1 C 3.1 0.0091
1969 May-24 874 (s) ER (t) 50 0.185
1969 Feb-22 6 ER (r) 6.0 0.0161
1968 Oct-7 15 ER (q) 2.1 0.0066
1968 Aug-22 5 ER (o) 0.1 0.00013 (p)
1967 Nov-5 251 H 0.7 0.0803
1965 Dec-24 <1 ER (n) 0.6 0.00085
1965 Mar-5 10 ER (m) 7.8 0.0168
1963 Oct-5 1 ER (l) 3.4 0.0066
1963 Aug-21 2 ER (k) 0.2 0.0008
1962 Dec-7 2 ER (j) 0.1 0.00031
1961 Sep-22 3 ER (i) 0.8 0.0022
1961 Jul-10 7 H 1.0 0.0126
1961 Mar-3 2 H 0.3 0.00026
1961 Feb-24 1 H 0.1 0.000022 (h)
1960 Jan-13 36 ER 10.7 0.1132
1959 Nov-14 36 KI 0.6 0.0372
1955 Feb-28 88 ER 15.9 0.0876
1954 May-31 3 H, C 1.1 0.0062
1952 Jun-27 136 H 0.6 0.0467
1934 Sep-6 33 H 0.4 0.0069
1931 Dec-23 14 H 0.3 0.007
1930 Nov-19 19 H 0.2 0.0062
1929 Jul-25 4 H 0.2 0.0026
1929 Feb-20 2 H 0.2 0.0014
1927 Jul-7 13 H 0.1 0.0023 (g)
1924 Jul-19 11 H 0.1 0.000234
1924 (g) May-10 17 C No lava No lava
1923 Aug-25 ? 1 ER 0.5 0.000073
1922 May-28 2 MC, NC 0.1 ?
1921 Mar-18 7 C 2.0 0.0064
1919 Dec-21 221 SWR 13.0 0.0453
1919 Feb-7 294 (f) C 4.2 0.0252 ?
1918 Feb-23 14 C 0.1 0.000183
1894 Jul-7 4 ? C ? ?
1894 Mar-21 6+ C ? ?
1885 Mar 80 ? C ? ?
1884 Jan-22 (e) 1 ER 0.1 ?
1877 May-21 ? - K 0.1 ?
1877 May-4 1 ? CW ? ?
1868 Apr-2 ? Short SWR 0.1 0.000183
1868 Apr-2 Short KI 0.2 ?
1840 May-30 26 ER 17.2 (d) 0.205
1832 Jan-14 Short east rim of C ? ?
1823 Feb-Jul Short SWR 10.0 (d) 0.0110 (d)
Nearly continuous lava-lake activity on the caldera floor characterized the period from before 1823 until 1924. (a)
1790 (c) Nov ? - C No lava flow No lava flow
1790 ? - - ER 7.9 0.0275
1750 ? - - ER 4.1 0.0142

Notes about the table

Eruptive Subdivisions of Kilauea Volcano

(a) Written records begin in July-August 1823, when the first European visited the summit of Kilauea. Thereafter until 1924, lava-lake eruptive activity was almost continuous in the caldera. Before the mid-1800s, however, records of the many overflows from the lava lake are sparse. The table lists the periods of major overflows only.

(b) Since 1960 all areas and volumes are based on mapping and estimates by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

(c) Violently explosive, killing 80 or more members of a war party near the summit or upper southwest rift zone.

(d) Area above sea level. The volume below sea level is unknown, but estimates give the following orders of magnitude: 1823-2,200,000 m3; 1840-146,000,000 m3. These are included in the volumes given in the table.

(e) Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Feb. 2, 1884. "A column of water, like a dome, shot several hundred feet up into the air, accompanied with clouds of smoke and steam." No further eruption was observed the next day.

(f) Several separate flows, with short intervals without extrusion.

(g) Violent phreatic explosions, possibly accompanied by a submarine lava flow on the east rift zone. One person killed by falling rocks.

(h) About 230,000 m3 of lava poured into Halema`uma`u, but most of it drained back into the vents.

(i) Fourteen outbreaks along a 21-km discontinuous fissure east of Napau Crater.

(j) Five outbreaks from `Alo`i Crater to Kane Nui o Hamo.

(k) In and near `Alae Crater.

(l) In and near Napau Crater.

(m) Makaopuhi Crater to Kalalua Crater.

(n) In and east of `Alo`i Crater.

(o) In Hi`iaka Crater and at scattered points for 21 km farther east.

(p) About 2,900,000 m3 poured into Hi`iaka Crater, but most of it drained back in the feeding fissure at the end of the eruption.

(q) From the east flank of Kane Nui o Hamo for about 3 km eastward.

(r) Between `Alae and Napau Craters.

(s) The very long duration of activity is more comparable with the long-continued lava-lake activity in Halema`uma`u previous to 1924 than with the other eruptions listed in this table.

(t) Mauna Ulu, between the former `Alo`i and `Alae Craters, which were completely filled by the lava flows in 1969-70.

(u) Eruption at Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha.

(v) Activity in the Pu`u `O`o-Kupaianaha area is continuing.

(w) The volume is only approximate, because of the difficulty in estimating the large amount that poured into open cracks.

(x) From 1 km west of Hi`iaka Crater to Pauahi Crater.

(y) Of this, about 220,000 m3 drained down into fissures in the floors of the craters.

(z) From Pauahi Crater eastward 2.4 km to near Pu`u Huluhulu.

(aa) Of this, about 4,400,000 m3 drained down into cracks in the floor of Halema`uma`u.

(bb) Directly following a M 7.2 earthquake, the most severe since 1868.

Table Source

Modified from: Macdonald, G. A., Abbott, A. T., and Peterson, F. L., 1986, Volcanoes in the Sea: The Geology of Hawaii, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2nd edition, p. 80-81.


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Updated: 18 April 2005 (pnf)