2018 lower Puna eruption

volcanic event on the island of Hawaiʻi, on Kīlauea volcano's East Rift Zone

The 2018 lower Puna eruption, which began May 3, 2018 is an ongoing volcanic event on the island of Hawaii on Kīlauea while at the time day, faced a 6.9 earthquake. It caused outbreaks of lava fountains up to 300 feet (91 m) high, lava flows and volcanic gas in the Leilani Estates on the island of Hawaii.

Lava from a fissure slowly advanced to the northeast on Hoʻokāpu Street in Leilani Estates subdivision (May 5, 2018)

As of May 6, 2018, the eruption has caused in the destruction of 26 houses. This volcanic event is the 62nd episode of the ongoing east rift zone eruption that began in January 1983.

On May 3, 2018, after a 5.0 earthquake earlier in the day, steaming ground cracks opened in Leilani Estate and began to spew lava, causing evacuations of the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens areas.[1][2] The next day, May 4, the first two homes were reported destroyed in Leilani Estates from three erupting vents.

The Civil Defense Agency reported extreme levels of sulphur dioxide gas in the area, and Talmadge Magno, the Civil Defense Administrator for Hawaii County, stated that power lines had melted off the poles due to heat.[3][4]

By May 25, 2018, over 20 fissures had erupted lava in or near the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions,[5] resulting in the destruction of at least 82 structures in lower Puna.[6] The eruption forced the evacuation of about two thousand residents.

The fissures had sent lava rivers that on May 19 buried part of Hawaii Route 137 and began flowing into the ocean.[7] On May 29 the approach of lava forced closure of Hawaii Route 132.[8]

By July 12, over 12.4 square miles (32 km2) of land had been covered by lava flows. About 655 acres (2.65 km2) of new land has been created in the ocean.[9][10] The official number of houses destroyed by the ongoing eruption reached 700 on July 9.[11] The eruption was said to have stopped near August 15, 2018.


  1. "Ige signs emergency proclamation following Leilani lava eruption". www.hawaiitribune-herald.com. Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. "What a day! Eruptions, earthquakes, and a lower lava lake". Volcano Watch. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, US Geological Survey. 6 May 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. "Volcanic gas a 'risk for everyone' in the area near lava outbreak". 4 May 2018.
  4. "Hawaii emergency declared over volcano". BBC News. 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  5. "4 rescued by helicopter as lava cuts off access to about 40 houses". Star Advertiser. 19 May 2018.
  6. "Explosions produce ash cloud that rose to 11,000 feet". Star Advertiser. 25 May 2018.
  7. "Lava crosses Highway 137 and enters the ocean in lower Puna - Hawaii Tribune-Herald". www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.
  8. May 28, 2018; May 29, 2018 Updated; 2018 10:45am (28 May 2018). "Fast-moving lava shuts down highway near Leilani Estates". Honolulu Star-Advertiser.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. "Photo & Video Chronology". USGS. June 13, 2018.
  10. "East Rift Zone map". USGS. July 12, 2018.
  11. Burnett, John. "Official count of homes destroyed reaches 700". Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

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