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Presented By: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Smith Lecture: Chronicles of the 2018 Kīlauea Volcano Eruption: Causes, Consequences, and Community Efforts to Document an Unprecedented Geologic Event

Bridget Smith-Konter, University of Hawaii

The 2018 flank eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea volcano, one of the largest volcanic events in Hawaiʻi in 200 years, was an event of stunning sequences and epic destruction. At 5:00PM HST on May 3, 2018, the first of 24 eruptive fissures tore open along the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) of Kīlauea volcano. Nineteen hours later, a M6.9 earthquake, the largest event in 43 years, displaced a substantial section of Kīlauea’s south flank ~1-3 m seaward. For several days to weeks following this event, unprecendented subsidence of Kīlauea’s summit accelerated due to partial draining of the underlying magma system. Accompanying this remarkable deformation event were several impressive explosions and over 50 near-daily ~M5 summit collapse events. Concurrently, lava erupted on the LERZ with a variety of styles and compositions, producing lava flows covering 35 km2 and adding 3.5 km2 of new shoreline to Hawaiʻi Island. By August 4 however, summit collapse ceased and the major LERZ eruption also came to an end. This spectacular 3-month sequence of events provided an unprecedented opportunity to image volcanic and tectonic deformation in near-real time and to advance community hazard response and recovery efforts, in preparation for the next major event to strike Earthʻs most active volcano.

Those wishing to attend remotely should log in to Zoom ID#989 8458 7392

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