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Timelapse camera and webcam images of the fissure 8 lava flow during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi

February 28, 2024

The 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi, was one of the most destructive effusive eruptions worldwide in the past century, destroying over 700 structures (Neal and others, 2019; Meredith and others, 2022).  Between May and September 2018, a total of 24 fissures opened, producing a lava flow field with an area of 36 km2.  By the end of May, the eruption had focused at fissure 8, which produced the dominant lava flow of the eruption.  This lava flow extended north from its vent in Leilani Estates and entered the ocean in Kapoho, reaching a total subaerial length of 13 km.  This flow was active for about two months, from May 28 to August 4, followed by several weeks of weak vent activity at the fissure. 
While monitoring the fissure 8 flow and its hazards, staff from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory placed several small timelapse cameras near the flow margin to better track and understand the flow changes.  This data release includes images collected by five timelapse cameras, consisting of two deployment locations.  One deployment location was close to the vent, and imaged the proximal portion (also called the “spillway”) of the fissure 8 flow.  The second deployment location was 10 km downflow, on high ground in an active quarry on the cinder cone from the 1960 eruption. 
These cameras were all small trail cameras designed for hunters to track game animals, and were used due to their inexpensive cost and ease of deployment.  However, the cameras would switch into a near-infrared mode at night that, due to the intense infrared radiation emitted by the lava flow, produced oversaturated images that had little use.  We have included all of the images collected by the camera for completeness, while recognizing that the majority of nighttime images will not be useful.  More recent deployments of timelapse cameras have remedied this problem and now use different models of timelapse cameras (such as the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 white flash camera) that do not go into infrared mode and have produced much better nighttime images. 

We also include images from a continuously operating webcam (PGcam) near the eruption site, which had images transmitted in real time every 5 minutes. 
This data release accompanies DeSmither and Patrick (2024), which includes images from a timelapse camera pointed at the fissure 8 cone and lava fountain.  It also accompanies Patrick and Anderson (2024), which includes images from timelapse cameras stationed at the summit of Kīlauea during the 2018 collapse sequences that occurred while the lower East Rift Zone eruption ensued.  Some of the data in the current data release were used in Patrick and others (2019a), with some of the data released previously in Patrick and others (2019b).


DeSmither L, Patrick M. 2024. Lava fountain heights and associated timelapse images during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi. U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Meredith ES, Jenkins SF, Hayes JL, Deligne NI, Lallamant D, Patrick M, Neal C. 2022. Damage assessment for the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone lava flows of Kīlauea volcano, Hawaiʻi. Bulletin of Volcanology 84, 65.
Neal CA, Brantley SR, Antolik L, Babb J, Burgess M, Calles K, Cappos M, Chang JC, Conway S, DeSmither L, Dotray P, Elias T, Fukunaga P, Fuke S, Johanson IA, Kamibayashi K, Kauahikaua J, Lee RL, Pekalib S, Miklius A, Million W, Moniz CJ, Nadeau PA, Okubo P, Parcheta C, Patrick MR, Shiro B, Swanson DA, Tollett W, Trusdell F, Younger EF, Zoeller MH, Montgomery-Brown EK, Anderson KR, Poland MP, Ball J, Bard J, Coombs M, Dietterich HR, Kern C, Thelen WA, Cervelli PF, Orr T, Houghton BF, Gansecki C, Hazlett R, Lundgren P, Diefenbach AK, Lerner AH, Waite G, Kelly P, Clor L, Werner C, Mulliken K, Fisher G. 2019. The 2018 rift eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea Volcano. Science, eaav7046. 
Patrick MR, Anderson KR. 2024. Timelapse camera images of caldera floor subsidence during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Island of Hawai`i. U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Patrick MR, Dietterich HR, Lyons JJ, Diefenbach AK, Parcheta C, Anderson KR, Namiki A, Sumita I, Shiro B, Kauahikaua JP. 2019a. Cyclic lava effusion during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano. Science,
Patrick MR, Dietterich H, Lyons J, Diefenbach A, Parcheta C, Anderson K, Namiki A, Sumita I., Shiro B, Kauahikaua J. 2019b. Cyclic lava effusion during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano: data release: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Publication Year 2024
Title Timelapse camera and webcam images of the fissure 8 lava flow during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi
DOI 10.5066/P9SCU4RE
Authors Matthew R Patrick, Kevan P Kamibayashi, R. Lopaka Lee
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization USGS Volcano Science Center