• USGS_Lava Folds_June 20 2018
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Eruption Timeline

2018 Kīlauea Eruption


The 2018 Kīlauea eruption began between April 30, 2018 and May 4, 2018 with a series of earthquakes, the Puʻu Oʻo Crater collapse at the Kīlauea volcano summit, the movement of magma downrift toward the Lower East Rift Zone, followed by cracks opening on Mohala St. in the Leilani Estates subdivision of the Puna District.

  • On May 3, 2018, lava broke through the surface in Leilani Estates, resulting in a 100-foot lava fountain spewing from the initial fissure.
  • On May 4, 2018, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake preceded the opening of several more fissures.

Photo: Leilani Estates, USGS, May 3, 2018

  • Over subsequent months, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Observatory (HVO) reported a total of 24 known fissures, 60,000 earthquakes, and an eruption equivalent to 8 years of Kīlauea’s magma supply in just over 3 months.
  • Given the volume of lava and associated hazards such as SO2, ash, tephra, and laze, Island of Hawaiʻi residents were severely impacted.
  • Entire neighborhoods, such as Kapoho, schools, such as Kua O Ka Lā, and beach parks, such as Ahalanui Warm Ponds, were destroyed by Fissure 8, soon to be renamed by the state Board of Geographic Names.

Photo: Kapoho Bay, USGS, June 3, 2018

HVO reduced Kīlauea's alert level from watch to advisory on Friday, October 5, 2018 after the passing of 30 days without seeing lava on the surface. There have been no active lava flows since August, though lava was seen inside fissure 8 in Leilani Estates as of Sept. 5, 2018.

View the USGS overview of events April 17 to October 5, 2018


Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption include:


  • 13.7 sq mi / 35.5 sq km / 8,488 acres inundated with lava
  • 875 acres new land created along shoreline
  • Kīlauea summit collapse
  • Erupted a volume of 1 cubic kilometer of lava; two thirds from Fissure 8


  • 716 structures destroyed, including approx. 200 primary residences
  • 3,000 residents displaced
  • Estimated $236.5M in damages to roads, waterlines and facilities (e.g. parks)


  • Small businesses decreased revenues and closures
  • $27.9M farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
  • Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
  • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 4-month closure, source of $222M/year economic influence


Kīlauea is an active shield volcano and the youngest of five volcanoes that comprise the Island of Hawaiʻi.

  • Kīlauea's magma-plumbing system extends to the surface from more than 60 km into the earth. Located along the southern shore of the island, Kīlauea is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old, and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.
  • Native Hawaiians honor Kīlauea as the home of Pele, the volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell of many eruptions initiated by Pele before the first European missionary saw the summit in 1823.
  • Since 1952, there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983, eruptive activity has been continuous along the East Rift Zone.

Beginning in May 2018, the lava lake that previously existed inside Halema'uma'u crater disappeared and lava flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater ceased - signaling the beginning of the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption and active surface flows in the Lower East Rift Zone. The crater size roughly doubled as a result of the most recent eruption.


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