Starting in early May of 2018 the Big Island of Hawaii began experiencing an active eruption of the massive shield volcano Kilauea, marking some of the most significant seismic activity in decades.
The Kilauea eruption included occasional eruptions from the Halema`uma`u crater as well as the fissure vents that opened on the volcano’s East Rift Zone, with lava oozing and shooting out of the cracks in the Earth’s surface, particularly a cone that formed at fissure 8 and poured out immense amounts of lava that made it’s way to the ocean. The volcano put on some amazing lava displays over a four month period, then in the first half of August 2018, the lava flow and seismic activity slowed and stopped.
In December 2018, with no active flows or significant volcanic activity present for over 3 months, the USGS announced that they are considering this the end of the active eruption that has been continuous on the Big Island since 1983. The scientists studying Kilauea have indicated that it is hard to tell what will happen next, this could be just a short pause while the lava shifts to a new location, or it could signal a longer period of rest from the volcano, only time will tell.
While we understand the wide spread interest in this eruption, we also want to help keep the event in perspective and have written an article detailing the scope of the 2018 Volcanic Eruption, the area it affected, and how the activity affects those visiting the Big Island.
Kilauea Volcano History Video by the USGS
Timeline of Eruption
May 2018 The Eruption Begins
Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone Activates:
Eruption of lava and ground cracking begins in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.
The middle portion of the fissure system continues to produce robust eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone. The most active fissures are 22,19, 6, 5, and 23. A faint glow was seen from Fissure 9, but no flows, and methane was observed burning in road cracks overnight. Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from these fissure eruptions.
The ocean entry becomes active and produces occasional small explosions. Observers noted the height of the perched lava pond / channel had reached 11 meters / 36 feet above the ground level. Lava is entering the ocean at multiple locations and instrumental signals are consistent with sustained ocean entry activity.
May 28th USGS Video Update
June 14th USGS Flyover Video Update
June 29th USGS Flyover Video Update
July 14th USGS Flyover Video Update