Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Lava fountain heights and associated timelapse images during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi

April 23, 2024

The 2018 eruption from the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea volcano, on the Island of Hawaiʻi, was one of the most significant and destructive events on the volcano in the past 200 years (Neal and others, 2019; Patrick and others, 2020; Anderson and others, 2023; Mulliken and others, 2024). Between May and September of that year, 24 fissures opened on the lower flank of the volcano, producing lava fountains and expansive lava flows that covered an area of 36 km2 (Neal and others, 2019; Zoeller and others, 2020). Effusion rates at the dominant vent, fissure 8, were often >100 m3 s-1, and the total eruptive volume is estimated at 0.9–1.4 km3 (Dietterich and others, 2021) making it one of the most voluminous effusive eruptions worldwide in the past hundred years. Over 700 structures were destroyed, and thousands of residents were displaced (Houghton and others, 2021; Meredith and others, 2022). The eruption from the lower East Rift Zone was associated with collapse and subsidence of the caldera floor at the summit of Kīlauea, 40 km upslope (Neal and others, 2019; Anderson and others, 2019). This event also terminated the long-lived eruptions at Puʻuʻōʻō, in the middle East Rift Zone, and the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake within the summit crater (Wright and Klein, 2014; Mulliken and others, 2024).

In this data release we publish measurements of the height of the 2018 lava fountains through time, which may be helpful for understanding the dynamics of lava fountaining and vent behavior in basaltic eruptions. In this first version of the data release, we include only the measurements from the dominant vent, fissure 8. This fountain was monitored with a time-lapse camera that allowed for frequent, regular measurements. Lava fountains at the other fissures were measured more sporadically, normally with a handheld inclinometer, and those data will be included in a later version.

This data release complements Patrick and others (2024) which includes additional timelapse images collected from five other temporary timelapse cameras that collected images during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea.


Anderson KR, Johanson IA, Patrick MR, Gu M, Segall P, Poland MP, Montgomery-Brown EK, Miklius A. 2019. Magma reservoir failure and the onset of caldera collapse at Kīlauea Volcano in 2018. Science, doi:10.1126/science.aaz1822
Anderson KR, Shea T, Lynn KJ, Montgomery-Brown EK, Swanson DA, Patrick MR, Shiro BR, Neal CA. 2023. The 2018 eruption of Kilauea: Insights, puzzles and opportunities for volcano science. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science 52:1
Dietterich HR, Diefenbach AK, Soule SA, Zoeller MH, Patrick MR, Major JJ, Lundgren P. 2021. Lava effusion rate evolution and erupted volume during the 2018 Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone eruption. Bull Volcanology 83, 25.
Houghton BF, Cockshell WA, Gregg CE, Walker BH, Kim K, Tisdale CM, Yamashita E. 2021. Land, lava, and disaster create a social dilemma after the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano. Nature Communications 12:1223
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,
Mosbrucker, A.R., Zoeller, M.H., and Ramsey, D.W., 2020, Digital elevation model of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi, based on July 2019 airborne lidar surveys: U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Mulliken, K.M., Kauahikaua, J.P., Swanson, D.A., and Zoeller, M.H., 2024, Chronology of recent volcanic activity on the Island of Hawai‘i, Hawaii: U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Neal, C.A., Brantley, S.R,, Antolik, L., Babb, J., Burgess, M., Calles, K., Cappos, M., Chang, J.C., Conway, S., Desmither, L., Dotray, P., Elias, T., Fukunaga, P., Fuke, S., Johanson, I.A., Kamibayashi, K., Kauahikaua, J., Lee, R.L., Pekalib, S., Miklius, A., Million, W., Moniz, C.J., Nadeau, P.A., Okubo, P., Parcheta, C., Patrick, M.R., Shiro, B,, Swanson, D.A., Tollett, W., Trusdell, F., Younger, E.F., Zoeller, M.H., Montgomery-Brown, E.K., Anderson, K.R., Poland, M.P., Ball, J., Bard, J., Coombs, M., Dietterich, H.R., Kern, C., Thelen, W.A., Cervelli, P.F., Orr, T., Houghton, B.F., Gansecki, C., Hazlett, R., Lundgren, P., Diefenbach, A.K., Lerner, A.H., Waite, G., Kelly, P., Clor, L., Werner, C., Mulliken, K., Fisher, G. 2019. The 2018 rift eruption and summit collapse of Kilauea Volcano. Science:eaav7046. 1315
Patrick M, Johanson I, Shea T, Waite GP. 2020. The historic events at Kīlauea Volcano in 2018: summit collapse, rift zone eruption, and Mw 6.9 earthquake: preface to the special issue. Bulletin of Volcanology 82, 46.
Patrick, M.R., Kamibayashi, K., and Lee, R.L., 2024, 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. U.S. Geological Survey data release,
Wright TL, Klein FW. 2014. Two hundred years of magma transport and storage at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi, 1790-2008.  U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1806, 240 p.
Zoeller MH, Perroy RL, Wessels RL, Fisher GB, Robinson JE, Bard JA, Peters J, Mosbrucker AR, Parcheta CE. 2020. Geospatial database of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Publication Year 2024
Title Lava fountain heights and associated timelapse images during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Island of Hawaiʻi
DOI 10.5066/P9DSIP05
Authors Liliana G Desmither, Matthew R Patrick
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization USGS Volcano Science Center