Skip to navigationSkip to content
USGA via AP, EPA, Reuters
How has almost a month of creeping lava changed the Hawaiian landscape?
RIVER OF LAVA

Aerial photos show Kilauea’s slow-motion sculpting of Hawaii

By Johnny Simon

While Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea has technically been erupting since 1983, the last month has seen a massive uptick in activity. It began at the beginning of May with hundreds of earthquakes, followed by lava seeping up from the earth.

Today, Kilauea’s mark on Hawaii snakes across 2,400 acres, and reaches all the way to the sea. The volcano has poured molten lava from more than 20 fissures, destroying dozens of homes, emitting toxic gas, and putting a geothermal power plant at risk.

Here’s a visual timeline of Kilauea’s activity, from ash plumes to cooling lava.

USGS via AP
An ash plume rises above the Pu’u ‘O’o vent, on Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano on May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
USGS via AP
Ash rises above the Pu’u ‘O’o vent.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
An aerial view of the Pu’u ‘O’o crater.
USGS via AP
Lava burning in the Leilani Estates subdivision on May 3.
USGS via AP
An aerial view of fissure 5, which opened shortly before noon on May 4.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
A general aerial view showing smoke rising from the lava flow on May 4.
Bryon Matthews via AP
Lava flows toward a home in the Puna District on May 4.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
A 2,000 foot long fissure of lava fountains erupts within the Leilani Estates subdivision on May 5.
USGS via AP
Lava bubbling out of fissure 7 in Pahoa, Hawaii on May 5.
USGS via AP
Gases rise from a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii on May 13.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
An aerial view shows eruptive activity continuing at Fissure 17 on May 14
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Lava flow from a fissure is seen creeping towards the Puna Geothermal Venture facility as eruptive activity continues on May 18.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
An aerial view of multiple fountains on Kilauea’s lower east rift zone on May 18.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
A massive, fast-moving lava flow consumes everything in its path on May 19.
USGS via AP
Lava flows from fissures near Pahoa on May 19.
USGS vis AP
Lava enters the sea at two locations near Pahoa on May 21.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
An aerial view of a massive river of lava cuts through through a forest and highway on May 22.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Huge rivers of lava snake its way toward the sea on May 22.
USGS via EPA
Channelized lava flows spilling into the ocean on May 24.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Lava erupts from a fissure and travels toward a house at Leilani Estates in Pahoa May 25.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Lava erupts from fissures 6 and 13 at Leilani Estates in Pahoa on May 25.
USGS via AP
Lava sends up clouds of steam and toxic gases as it enters the Pacific Ocean on May 25.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Molten lava from fissure 7 violently erupts several hundred feet into the air on May 27.
EPA/Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
Fissure 22 continues to erupt, sending a river of lava snaking toward the coast on May 27.
USGS via Reuters
An active lava flow crossing Pohoiki Road on May 28.
Reuters/Marco Garcia
The lava flow cuts across Highway 137 entering the ocean near Kapoho on May 28.
Reuters/Marco Garcia
Lava cuts through the Malama Ki area towards the ocean near Kapoho on May 28.
Reuters/Marco Garcia
Lava approaches Puna Geothermal Venture in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa on May 28.