Link to USGS home page.
USGS HOME
Contact USGS

  • Assess
  • Prepare
  • Forecast
  • |
  • Activity
  • Products
  • Observatories
  • About

Photo & Video Chronology


USGS-HVO photos and videos are in the public domain and can be freely downloaded from the HVO website (click on a photo to open a full resolution copy). Please credit "U.S. Geological Survey" for any imagery used.

June 20, 2018
Geologists at work monitoring Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone eruption

Geologist makes early morning observations of the lava fountain and channelized flow at fissure 8 in Leilani Estates.

HVO geologist measures 260 degrees C (500 degrees F) along ground cracks near fissure 10 in Leilani Estates. Geologists routinely make temperature measurements to track changes throughout the fissure complex in the lower East Rift Zone.

Sluggish pāhoehoe briefly spills over a section the levee along the well-established lava channel. Such overflows generally travel short distances measured in meters (yards). Geologists track the extent of oveflows and look for potential areas of weakness and seepages along the sides of the perched channel in order to assess potential breakouts from the channel.

Fissure 8 lava fountains reached as high as about 50 m (164 ft) during the past day. The fountain height varies, often sending a shower of lava fragments over the rim of the cone, building it slightly higher and broader. Lava from fissure 8 flows through a well-established channel to the ocean south of Kapoho.

Left: Lava from fissure 8 travels about 13 km (8 mi) to the ocean in an open channel. Lava remains incandescent (glowing orange) throughout its journey. The ocean entry is at upper right. Right: Small streams of lava enter the ocean across a broad area, shown by the multiple white steam and laze plumes. Lava has added about 380 acres of new land into the sea.
Big changes at Halema‘uma‘u

View of the southern edge of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater (middle right) during yesterday's helicopter-assisted work at Kīlauea's summit. The once-popular parking lot (closed since 2008) that provided access to Halema‘uma‘u is no longer--the parking lot fell into the crater this past week as more and more of the Kīlauea Crater floor slides into Halema‘uma‘u. The Crater Rim Drive road (middle) now ends at Halema‘uma‘u instead of the parking lot. The view is toward the west-northwest.

A temporary GPS station (with radio telemetry for continuous measurement) was installed this week on the Kīlauea caldera floor to track the ongoing subsidence of the summit area. The data will help to characterize the extent and rate of the subsidence. HVO work at the summit is conducted with the cooperation and support of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
June 19, 2018
Satellite radar shows continued slumping of Halema‘uma‘u rim

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and June 18 at about 6:00 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the return, with bright areas indicating a strong return and dark areas a weak return. Strong returns indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak returns come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are clear. The last five images in the sequence, from May 29-June 18, show the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u (also seen in recent UAS footage of the crater) and inward slumping of a large portion of the western, southwestern, and northern crater rim. Much of this motion appears to be coincident with the small explosions from the summit that have taken place on a near daily basis over the past 3 weeks. We expect this slumping to continue as long as the explosions and overall subsidence persist.
Fissure 8 increased in vigor overnight

Fissure 8 vigor increased overnight June 18-19 with lava fountains reaching up to 60 m (200 ft). Spatter built up the cone to the east and into the channel. In this photograph, spatter lands on the east cone and flows downward.

Fissure 8 lava fountains obscured by a longer exposure photograph taken early morning on June 18. The incandescent spots along a horizontal line mark the edge of the lava channel. A tongue of incandescent lava leads down to the right - a small overflow from the channel margin.

The northern channel margin of the fissure 8 lava flow. Small hill in the distance is the site of our PGcam. Overflows from the channel can be seen producing shiny black to silver pahoehoe flows (incandescent red breakout visible in center of photo). These flows are building up the channel margins and making the levees more robust.

Fissure 8 cone, lava fountain, and channelized lava flow on the morning overflight - June 19 at about 6:10am HST. The lava channel is very full with many small overflows visible on the channel margins. Overflows are sluggish and move slowly downslope as they build up the levees.

Geology field crews on the ground near the Kīlauea's fissure 8 midday on June 19, 2018 observed a still-vigorous channelized lava flow being fed by lava fountains at the vent. Standing waves are visible within the channel. Cascades/rapids are visible near the base of the cone, which is an estimated 50 m (164 ft) high. The maximum flow velocity in the channel is 7.7 m/s (17 mph). During the morning overflight, several small overflows could be seen along the channel margins. The flow of lava is more rapid in the center of the channel and decreases in speed toward the margins where friction with the channel walls increases. The lava flow forks as it nears the ocean, creating two ocean entry points.
June 18 summit overflight photos show Halema‘uma‘u with HVO for perspective

During the helicopter overflight on June 18, crews captured this image of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater viewed to the southeast. With HVO and Jagger Museum sitting on the caldera rim (right side, middle where the road bends to the left) it is easier to comprehend the scale of subsidence at the summit. The estimated total volume loss is about 260 million cubic meters as of June 15th.

Halema‘uma‘u viewed toward the west during the June 18 helicopter overflight. HVO and Jaggar Museum can barely be seen on the caldera rim in the upper right of the photograph.
June 18, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Fissure 8 lava flows in an open channel all the way to the ocean. Kapoho Crater is the vegetated hill on the right side of the photograph. Ocean entry plume seen in the distance.

Left: Fissure 8 cone and channelized lava flow. Right: Fissure 6 (photo center) showed signs of activity overnight, producing small amounts of spatter and feeding short lava flows. Fissure 6 is located about 2.2 km (1.4 mi) downrift from Fissure 8.
Seismic event generates weak plume captured by Halemaʻumaʻu webcam on June 18, 2018.

On June 18, 2018, at 6:13 a.m. HTS, a seismic event occurred at Halema‘uma‘u that produced a relatively ash-poor gas plume that rose about 500 m (1,640 ft) above the crater. The activity was captured by the Halema‘uma‘u Wide Angle webcam located in the observation tower of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The plume dissipated quickly.
Helicopter overflight of the Halema‘uma‘u crater

Left: An overflight of Kīlauea's summit on June 18 showed the continued dramatic slumping and collapse of the Halema‘uma‘u crater area. This photo shows the area north-northwest of Halema‘uma‘u near a GPS station, North Pit. This station has subsided about 60 m (197 ft) in the past week. Right: North side of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater, marked by large cracks and large blocks that have slumped into the crater.
Geologists track fissure activity in the lower East Rift Zone

An HVO geologist uses a thermal camera to measure the temperature (about 93 degrees C or 200 degrees F) of a ground crack near fissure 9. In the lower East Rift Zone, a field geologist's daily duties can include monitoring ground cracks for temperature and gas changes, measuring heights of lava fountains and cinder cones, and tracking lava's speed at various locations. Geologists also monitor for channel overflows and collect tephra samples for geochemical analysis. The information is used to understand more about how the fissure complex behaves and informs the USGS' assessment of hazards.
June 17, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Morning overflight of Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone by the Civil Air Patrol provides context for the location of the fissure 8 fountain and lava channel within the lower Puna District. View is to the north. Image courtesy of Civil Air Patrol.

The fissure 8 lava fountain pulses to heights of 50 m (165 ft) within a cinder spatter cone. Fissure 8 feeds lava into the well-established channel that flows to the ocean.

In this video taken from the Leilani Estates subdivision, lava at fissure 8 pulses above the cinder cone adding fragments of lava (spatter) that build the cone higher. From fissure 8, lava flows freely over small cascades (rapids) into a well-established channel. Near the vent, lava is traveling about 24 km per hour (15 mi per hour). Lava slows to about 2 km per hour (1.5 mi per hour) near the ocean entry at Kapoho.

Occasionally, minor amounts of lava briefly spill over the lava channel levees. The spill overs are the shiny gray lobes along the channel margins. The lava flow field has been relatively stable with little change to its size and shape over the past few days. View to the east, with the plume in the upper right showing the location of the ocean entry.

Lava enters the ocean entry in the vicinity of Vacationland, producing a vigorous laze plume. Lava flowing into the ocean has built a delta of flows, rock rubble and black sand, which is over 320 acres in size.
View of Halema‘uma‘u

Inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halema‘uma‘u continues in response to ongoing subsidence at the summit. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano's summit have dropped to levels that are about half those measured prior to the onset of the current episode of eruptive activity. This gas and very minor amounts of ash are being transported downwind, with small bursts of ash and gas accompanying intermittent explosive activity. The view is from Volcano House, looking toward the west.
June 16, 2018
Inward slumping of crater walls and rim continues at Halema‘uma‘u

At Kīlauea Volcano's summit, inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halema‘uma‘u continues in response to ongoing subsidence. In this view to the southwest taken after this morning's event, a section of dark-colored wall rock (center left) has detached and dropped downward into the crater.
Fissure activity and active ocean entry in Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Fissure 8 produces a lava fountain that pulses to heights of 55 to 60 m (185 to 200 ft). Spattering has built a cinder cone that partially encircles fissure 8, now 51 m (170 ft) tall at its highest point. The steam in the foreground is the result of heavy morning rain falling on warm (not hot) tephra (lava fragments).

Left: Lava from fissure 8 travels about 13 km (8 mi) down a well established channel (visible in the center of the image) to an ocean entry at Kapoho. Lava is building a seaward delta that is approximately 320 acres in size. The view is to the southwest with the Kapoho area in the lower right. The white plume is the vigorous ocean entry at Vacationland. Right: View of the active ocean entry in the vicinity of Vacationland. The interaction of hot lava with the ocean creates "laze", a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs, but that dissipates quickly with distance.
June 15, 2018
Satellite radar shows continued inward slumping of Halema‘uma‘u crater

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and June 14 at about 6:00 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the return, with bright areas indicating a strong return and dark areas a weak return. Strong returns indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak returns come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are clear. The last four images in the sequence, from May 29-June 14, show the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u (also seen in recent UAS footage of the crater) and inward slumping of a large portion of the western, southwestern, and northern crater rim. Much of this motion appears to be coincident with the small explosions from the summit that have taken place on a near daily basis over the past 2 weeks. We expect this slumping to continue as long as the explosions and overall subsidence persist.
Eruption continues at Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Lava fountains from Fissure 8 reach heights of 200 ft overnight. The cinder and spatter cone that is building around the fissure is now about 165 ft at its highest point. At times, fissure activity is hidden behind the cinder and spatter cone, as shown in this image. USGS image taken June 15, 2018.

The ocean entry remains fairly broad with a white steam/laze plume blowing onshore. USGS image taken June 15, 2018.

Photograph taken during helicopter overflight captures fissure 8 lava fountain.
Live stream camera captures subsidence at Halema‘uma‘u

On June 15, 2018, a small explosion occurred at Kīlauea's summit at 11:56:39 AM HST. The event was captured by a live streaming camera and that footage is presented in this video clip. The earthquake starts at about the 0:39 mark of the video. The earthquake causes the camera to shake and over the course of the next few seconds, the rim of the crater subsides in several places, and numerous rockfalls occur (watch the crater rim at the lower left). Rockfalls also spall from the opposite wall of Halema‘uma‘u. After the earthquake, the video accelerates to 20x to show the plume of ashy material that results from all of the rockfalls and subsidence.
June 14, 2018
Cone building and lava flow generation at fissure 8 continues

The Fissure 8 viewed from the north at 7:50 AM. The cone is roughly 50 m (165 ft) high at is peak, and a plume of sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gases rises as an orange tinge from the erupting lava fountains (hidden within the cone). Lava is still flowing out of the vent unabated as a full channel. To the left of the cone, a standing wave of lava can be seen in the channel.
Ocean entry is active along the length of the flow front

Left: Several laze plumes rise along the ocean entry margin as break outs feed many small and large flows. The largest Pāhoehoe breakout area is on the northern margin of the flow (furthest plume in this image). Right: A close up view of the pāhoehoe breakouts along the northern ocean entry.
Fissure 8 flowing from vent to the sea

A helicopter overflight video of the lower East Rift Zone on June 14, 2018, around 6:00 AM, shows lava fountaining at fissure 8 feeding channelized lava flows that flow into the ocean. Lava is still flowing out of fissure 8 unabated and the channel is full. At the start of the video, standing waves in the lava channel can be seen near the vent exit. The channel appears crust-free from vent to the bend around Kapoho Crater. A surface crust forms over the channel as it spreads out during its approach to the ocean. The overflight along the ocean entry is from north to south along the coastline. The ocean entry is active along the whole length - approximately 1 mile. Small litoral explosions are occurring and there are several plumes of laze.
Changes at Halemaumau over time

This is a comparison of photos taken from the same location in the Volcano House on May 19 and June 13, 2018. The focal length of the lens for each photo is almost the same. The photos show the enlargement of Halema‘uma‘u laterally and vertically. Note how much lower the rim is relative to the tree in the lower photo.
June 13, 2018
Eruption continues at Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone

Left: Fissure 8 lava fountain during this morning's overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. Steam and fume rises from fissures 16 and 18 in distance (upper left). View is toward the east. Right: Fissure 8 lava fountains continue to reach heights of 40-45 m (130-150 ft) from within the growing cone of cinder and spatter, which is now about 40 m (130 ft) at its highest point. Fountaining at fissure 8 continues to feed the fast-moving channelized flow that is entering the ocean at Kapoho.

Left: View of the ocean entry and the resulting laze plume where lava is entering the sea. As of June 12, lava entering the ocean had added about 100 ha (250 acres) of new land to the Island of Hawai‘i. Right: Closer view of new land in the Kapoho area. The new coastline, following the ragged lava-ocean interface, is approximately 2.1 km (1.3 mi) in length. The white steam/laze plume marks the location of the most active lava entry site during the morning overflight.
UAS survey of Halema‘uma‘u crater rim

A UAS mission on June 13, 2018, filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit since explosive eruptions of ash and gas and ongoing wall collapse began in mid-May. The video shows steep crater walls that continue to slump inward and downward in response to the ongoing subsidence of the summit area. This video was taken from a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). Limited UAS flights into this hazardous area are conducted with permission and in coordination with Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The video is used to assess hazards at the summit and the information is shared with the National Park Service and emergency managers.
June 12, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone eruption

Left: Fissure 8 fountains reached heights up to 160 feet overnight. Lava fragments falling from the fountains are building a cinder-and-spatter cone around the vent, with the highest part of the cone (about 125 feet high) on the downwind side. USGS image taken June 12, 2018 around 6:10 a.m. HST. Right: Fissure 8 (fountain visible in distance) feeds lava into an active braided channel that flows about 8 miles (north, then east) to the ocean entry in Kapoho Bay. USGS image taken June 12, 2018, around 6:50 a.m. HST.

Left: Aerial view of the ocean entry at Kapoho, where a lava delta about 250 acres in size is filling the bay. USGS image taken June 12, 2018, around 6:50 a.m. HST. Right: The south side of the ocean entry was most active today, with many small streams of lava and corresponding steam plumes spread along a fairly broad section of the southern part of the delta. USGS image taken June 12, 2018, around 6:13 AM.

Aerial views of the ocean entry on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on June 12, 2018, around 6:30 a.m. HST, show multiple small lava streams spilling into the ocean along the southern portion of the lava delta in Kapoho Bay. The interaction of molten lava and ocean water creates "laze," a corrosive mixture of seawater steam, hydrochloric acid, and fine volcanic glass particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. The helicopter overflight traveled from north to south along the coastline. Fissure 8 is visible in the distance near the end of the video.
Kīlauea summit

Events at the summit of Kīlauea over the past few weeks have dramatically reshaped Halema‘uma‘u, shown here in this aerial view, which looks west across the crater. The obvious flat surface (photo center) is the former Halema‘uma‘u crater floor, which has subsided at least 100 m (about 300 ft) during the past couple weeks. Ground cracks circumferential to the crater rim can be seen cutting across the parking lot (left) for the former Halema‘uma‘u visitor overlook (closed since 2008). The deepest part of Halema‘uma‘u (foreground) is now about 300 m (1,000 ft) below the crater rim. The Halema‘uma‘u crater rim and walls continue to slump inward and downward with ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea's summit.

A closer view of the cracks cutting across the parking lot for the former Halema‘uma‘u visitor overlook (closed since 2008, when an active vent opened within the crater). Additional photos—ground views—of the parking lot cracks were posted on June 7 and 11.
June 11, 2018
Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone eruption

Aerial view of the fissure 8 lava channel on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone in the vicinity of the Kapoho cone, with fissure 8 fountains visible in the distance (upper left). Helicopter overflights of the eruption site are routinely scheduled to check for any new outbreaks of lava and to collect GPS data on the active flow—information that's needed to make the flow field maps that are posted on HVO's website (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html).

Three closely spaced lava fountains at fissure 8 continue to feed a channelized flow trending north and then east to the ocean entry at Kapoho Bay. This video is from an HVO helicopter overflight of the braided lava channel this morning around 6:30 a.m. HST. Minor overflows of the channel levees have occurred at several places along the channel, but have been short-lived and do not pose an immediate threat to areas not previously covered by lava.

The three closely spaced lava fountains at fissure 8 reached maximum heights of 115-130 feet overnight. Lava fragments falling from the fountains are building a cinder-and-spatter cone around the erupting vent, with the bulk of the fragments falling on the downwind side of the cone. Fissure 8 continues to feed a channelized lava flow that reaches the ocean at Kapoho.

Lava has filled Kapoho Bay, building a new lava delta that is now about 250 acres in size. This aerial view of the ocean entry looks to the southwest.

The interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater causes pulsating "littoral explosions" that throw spatter (fragments of molten lava) and pieces of solidified glassy lava (black sand, Pele's hair, limu o Pele) high into the air. In this aerial view of the Kapoho ocean entry, these dark-colored lava particles are blasted skyward through billowing white clouds of seawater steam (laze). Ocean entry littoral explosions can create hazardous conditions both on land and at sea, because the lava fragments can be thrown far inland, as well as seaward.
Kīlauea summit activity

A series of wide-angle webcam images, captured by a camera in HVO's observation tower (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html) between June 1 and June 10, 2018, show ongoing subsidence around Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea in this animated GIF.

This 'warped-curb' crack, the largest in the parking area for the former Halema‘uma‘u overlook (closed since 2008), is one of many that have sliced the parking area into slices. Ballistics (blocks of solid rock) strewn across the area are visible in the foreground. Loose, dislodged blocks along this crack have not moved in at least the past 30 hours. This photo was taken today (June 11); additional photos and information about this area were posted on June 7.