Volcano Watch: Kilauea’s dynamic landscape: Reflections on the past four years

USGS photos A) Top left, photo of Halemaʻumaʻu before the 2018 collapse events started with the decade-long active lava lake that formed in 2008. B) Top right, photo after the 2018 collapse events had dropped the crater floor of Halemaʻumaʻu by more than 1,600 ft (500 m) over the course of just 4 months. C) Bottom left, in July 2019 a water lake started to form in the newly deepened Halemaʻumaʻu, and this lake continued to grow over the next year and a half. D) Bottom right, the eruption in December 2020 boiled away the water lake in a single night and continued until May 2021 before another eruption started in September 2021, continuing to the present. All photos are from the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

May 3 marked the fourth anniversary of the start of Kilauea’s historic 2018 eruption that covered much of lower Puna with lava flows and dropped the crater floor of the summit. This anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect on the dynamic landscape we share and the events of the past 4 years. At the same time, we’re considering what these recent changes might mean for future activity at Kilauea.