Hawaii Volcano Blog

Lava Destroys 30 Houses in Leilani Estates, New Fissures

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It has been reported that as of 6:00 p.m on Sunday, May 6, 2018, 30 houses have now been damaged or destroyed in the Leilani Estates Subdivision of the Big Island of Hawai‘i.

This image taken at 5:41 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, 2018, is from a temporary research camera positioned near Kapoho looking northwest. From left to right on the horizon, one can see Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent near the left edge of the image, the gas plume from Halemaʻumaʻu crater near the middle of the image (when clear enough), and Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea farther to the right.

U.S. Geological report for Sunday, May 6, 2018, at 12:53 p.m.:

Summary: Active eruption of lava and gas continues along Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone within the Leilani Estates subdivision. Since late last evening, fissure eruptions have been continuous, and a lava flow has advanced northward about 0.9 km (0.6 miles). Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and the lava lake level continues to drop. There is no active lava in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō area. Aftershocks from Friday’s magnitude-6.9 earthquake continue and more should be expected, with larger aftershocks potentially producing rockfalls and associated ash clouds above Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Seismicity at Kīlauea’s summit remains elevated.

Lower East Rift Zone Observations

The eruption in the lower East Rift Zone within Leilani Estates continues with continuous activity from one or two fissure segments since late last evening. A lava flow advanced northward from fissure 8 beginning about 5 a.m.; the flow advanced north-northeast about 0.9 km (0.6 miles) by 10 a.m.


In the past 12 hours, deformation of the ground in the area suggests a pause in magma accumulation in the distal part of the intrusion.

Overall seismicity has not changed significantly overnight. Earthquakes continue at a diminished rate compared to the past couple of days, and the stations nearest to the erupting fissures record fluctuating amplitude levels that correspond to fissure eruptive activity.

Summit Observations: Tiltmeters at the summit continue to record a deflationary trend of the past week and the summit lava lake level continues to drop. The lake level has dropped about 35 m (115 ft) during the past 24 hours based on a continuously recording laser range-finder instrument on the crater rim. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist. Current webcam views are here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

Elevated earthquake activity in the summit area is continuing following Friday’s magnitude-6.9 earthquake and as the summit area continues deflating.


Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: A tiltmeter on the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone continues to record the deflationary pattern that followed collapse of the crater floor on April 30. Rockfalls from the steep crater walls will likely continue to collapse intermittently, producing small ashy plumes. The 61g lava flow is no longer active.

Hazard Analysis: Continued eruptive activity (fluctuating and intermittent) in the lower East Rift Zone is likely. A slow-moving lava flow is advancing northward from the erupting fissure 8; the flow has advanced about 0.9 km (0.6 miles).

Areas downslope of erupting fissures are at risk of lava inundation. The general area of Leilani Estates remains at the greatest risk. However, as the eruption progresses, other areas of the lower East Rift Zone may also be at risk.

High levels of volcanic gas including sulphur dioxide are being emitted from the fissure vents. In addition, smoke from burning houses and burning asphalt is a health concern and should be avoided.


As the lava lake level inside Halemaʻumaʻu drops, rockfalls from the enclosing walls may increase in frequency prompting explosions of spatter from the lake onto the nearby crater rim and lofting plumes of ash. Dustings of ash from these events can occur downwind.

Additional aftershocks from the magnitude-6.9 earthquake are expected and some may be strong. Residents are advised to review earthquake preparedness by consulting available resources such as: https://www.shakeout.org/hawaii/dropcoverholdon/

Residents of the Puna District should remain alert, review individual, family, and business emergency plans, and watch for further information about the status of the volcano.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages regarding conditions, warning, and evacuations may be found at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

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