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Geospatial database of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

May 29, 2020

The 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kilauea Volcano began in the late afternoon of 3 May, with fissure 1 opening and erupting lava onto Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision, part of the lower Puna District of the Island of Hawaii. For the first week of the eruption, relatively viscous lava flowed only within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of the fissures within Leilani Estates, before activity shifted downrift (east-northeast) and out of the subdivision during mid-May. Around 18 May, activity along the lower East Rift Zone intensified, and fluid lava erupting at higher effusion rates from the downrift fissures reached the ocean within two days. Near the end of May, this more vigorous activity shifted back uprift into Leilani Estates, where fissure 8 reactivated with lava fountains feeding several 'a'a flows. The southernmost flow lobe developed into a well-defined lava channel and reached the ocean at Kapoho Bay?11 kilometers (7 miles) away?on 3 June. Fissure 8 continued supplying this lava channel for more than two months, constructing an approximately 3.5-square-kilometer (1.4-square-mile) lava delta along the coastline. Over 4 and 5 August, activity at fissure 8 waned and flow in the lava channel came to a halt, only to be followed by weak activity within the vent in late August and early September. By then, the eruption had covered 35.5 square kilometers (13.7 square miles) of the lower Puna District with lava. In this report, the authors have sought to chronicle this sequence of events using geospatial data in the form of an Esri file geodatabase, Esri shapefiles, and Google Earth KMZs.