USGS Releases New Photos & Video

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The U.S. Geological Survey released the following photos and video of the East Rift Zone on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone eruption

The Fissure 8 cone (right) and proximal lava channel were partially obscured by volcanic gas emissions Wednesday morning, July 18.

Lower East Rift Zone on July 18, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

In concert with surges in the eruptive activity, lava levels were fluctuating over periods of about five minutes. Deposits of tephra (airborne lava fragments, such as Pele’s hair) blanket the foreground area.


An increase in lava supply overnight produced several lava channel overflows that threatened homes on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision; farther downstream, lava overflowed both sides of the channel.

Lower East Rift Zone on July 18, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

By mid-morning, the overflows had stalled (flow shown here). For scale, a person’s leg and boot are just visible on the right center edge of this photo.

Several lobes of Fissure 8 lava are entering the ocean along a broad front, with the southwestern edge of the entry shown here.

Lower East Rift Zone on July 18, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS


The southern margin of the lava flow was about 0.4 miles from the Pohoiki boat ramp this morning.

Lower East Rift Zone on July 18, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

As of around 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 18, the southwestern-most part of the ocean entry was adjacent to a surf spot known as “Bowls and Shacks.”

In this July 14, 2018, video captured by the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) team, lava was erupting from within the 120-foot-high Fissure 8 cinder cone built of chilled lava fragments.


Lava emerging from the cone was traveling about 13 to 16 miles per hour, flowing freely over a small set of cascades (rapids) and into a perched channel that was as much as 50 feet above the ground surface.

The Fissure 8 lava flow channel extends about eight miles to the active ocean entry. UAS are assisting in the USGS eruption response. Hovering at about 1000 feet above hazardous areas, UAS collect video and images to map lava flow boundaries, track overflows, and help assess channel velocities. UAS can also carry sensors to collect thermal and gas data.

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