Hualālai is the third youngest and third-most historically active volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i.


It is considered to be in the post-shield stage of activity. Six different vents erupted lava between the late 1700s and 1801, two of which generated lava flows that poured into the sea on the west coast of the island. The Keahole Airport, located only 11 km (7 mi) north of Kailua-Kona, is built atop the larger flow. The oldest dated rocks are from about 128,000 years ago and it probably reached an elevation above sea level before 300,000 years ago. The volume of Hualālai is 12,400 km3 (2,975 mi3). Its area is 751 km2 (290 mi2).

Though Hualālai is not nearly as active as Mauna Loa or Kīlauea, geologic mapping of the volcano shows that 80 percent of Hualālai's surface has been covered by lava flows in the past 5,000 years. In the past few decades, when most of the resorts, homes, and commercial buildings were built on the flanks of Hualālai, earthquake activity beneath the volcano has been low. In 1929, however, an intense swarm of more than 6,200 earthquakes rattled the area around Hualālai Volcano for more than a month. The earthquakes were most likely caused by an intrusion of magma beneath the volcano. Two large earthquakes (each about magnitude 6.5) destroyed houses, water tanks, stone fences, and roadways. For these reasons, Hualālai is considered a potentially dangerous volcano that is likely to erupt again.


Date published: April 30, 2020

Volcano Watch — Looking for maps? GIS data? Try the HVO publications page!

Many messages to AskHVO (askHVO@usgs.gov) request resources relating to geologic maps and geographic information systems (GIS) data. "Is there a map of a certain ...

Date published: March 19, 2020

Volcano Watch — HVO's geological sample collections are an important resource

In the past, HVO would occasionally post images of people collecting lava samples on our website. These photos usually...

Date published: February 22, 2019

How to stay informed about Hawaiian volcanoes

Information about how to stay informed about Hawaiian volcanoes.

Find a U.S. Volcano