The Pu'u ‘O’o-Kupaianaha Eruption of Kilauea



Kilauea is nearing the 10th year of its most voluminous rift zone eruption in the last 2 centuries. Lava flows have covered 75 km2 to depths as great as 25 m and have added almost 1.2 km2 of new land to the island. These flows have devastated downslope communities and have provided a painful tutorial for local government in planning for and living with volcanic hazards [Heliker and Wright, 1991]. At the same time, the accessibility and longevity of this eruption have provided a unique opportunity for quantitative studies requiring long-term observations. This article briefly summarizes these studies, which are directed at a better understanding of eruption mechanics, lava-flow field emplacement, and the plumbing system of Kilauea.