Volcano Watch: Learning from the impacts of Kilauea’s 2018 LERZ lava flows

  • USGS photo Aerial photograph of Kilauea's 2018 lower East Rift Zone lava flows that inundated 14 square miles of land, damaging and destroying structures. USGS photographs like this were used in our impact assessment of the lava flows.

  • Graphic: Elinor Meredith and Nguyen Thi Nam Phuong/Earth Observatory of Singapore Building damage states used to classify buildings affected by Kilauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone lava flows by damage severity, the first developed for lava flows.

Lava flows erupted from the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea in 2018 and devastated lower Puna. In 2019, a team of scientists from the USGS, the Earth Observatory of Singapore, and GNS Science in New Zealand set out to document and assess the impacts to buildings and infrastructure to advance understanding of how lava flows impact the built environment.