Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Digital elevation model of K?lauea Volcano, Hawaii, based on July 2019 airborne lidar surveys

July 9, 2020

The 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano on the Island of Hawaii saw the collapse of a new, nested caldera at the volcano?s summit, and the inundation of 35.5 square kilometers (13.7 square miles) of the lower Puna District with lava. Between May and August, while the summit caldera collapsed, a lava channel extended 11 kilometers (7 miles) from fissure 8 in Leilani Estates to Kapoho Bay, where it formed an approximately 3.5-square-kilometer (1.4-square-mile) lava delta along the coastline. Rapidly-deployed remote sensing techniques were vital in monitoring these events. Following the eruption, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contracted the acquisition of rigorous airborne lidar surveys of Kilauea Volcano's summit, middle East Rift Zone, and lower East Rift Zone, also including the entire Pu'u lava flow field that was active from 1983 through early 2018. The surveys covered 567 square kilometers (219 square miles) at 30-100 points per square meter, for a total of 53 billion points. Only 16 percent of these points (an average of 4 points per square meter) were classified as ground due to extremely dense vegetation over much of the area. The USGS used 2,570 point cloud files classified by Quantum Spatial to generate a single digital elevation model (DEM) of the ground surface, including beneath-forest cover (that is, 'bare earth'). This USGS data release contains digital elevation data as a 1-meter resolution raster dataset (.tif file). The DEM can support a variety of earth science, civil engineering, and land use investigations.

Related Content