Detailed geologic mapping and radiocarbon dating of tholeiitic basalts covering about 275 km2 on the lower east rift zone (LERZ) and adjoining flanks of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, show that at least 112 separate eruptions have occurred during the past 2360 years. Eruptive products include spatter ramparts and cones, a shield, two extensive lithic-rich tuff deposits, aa and pahoehoe flows, and three littoral cones. Areal coverage, number of eruptions and average dormant interval estimates in years for the five age groups assigned are: (I) historic, i.e. A D 1790 and younger: 25%, 5, 42.75; (II) 200-400 years old: 50%, 15, 14.3: (III) 400-750 years old: 20%, 54, 6.6; (IV) 750-1500 years old: 5%, 37, 20.8; (V) 1500-3000 years old: <1%, 1, unknown. At least 4.5-6 km3 of tholeiitic basalt have been erupted from the LERZ during the past 1500 years. Estimated volumes of the exposed products of individual eruptions range from a few tens of cubic meters for older units in small kipukas to as much as 0.4 km3 for the heiheiahulu shield. The average dormant interval has been about 13.6 years during the past 1500 years. The most recent eruption occurred in 1961, and the area may be overdue for its next eruption. However, eruptive activity will not resume on the LERZ until either the dike feeding the current eruption on the middle east rift zone extends farther down rift, or a new dike, unrelated to the current eruption, extends into the LERZ. ?? 1992 Springer-Verlag.
Additional publication details
Volcanic geology and eruption frequency, lower east rift zone of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii