Spectacular flyover video of Kilauea eruption shows massive devastation

Aerial Survey of River of Lava as it Flows Down Valley in Hawaii

Footage from an Hawaii Army National Guard survey of the Kilauea eruption. Starting with fissure eight, that has developed a sizable cone around it and is sending channelized lava down to Kapoho. The lava river is at this time well over 100 foot across a moves quickly. (U.S. AIR National Guard video by Tech. Sgt Andrew Jackson) Source: USDOD

Earlier this week, USGS did a flyover:

A helicopter overflight video of the lower East Rift Zone on June 14, 2018, around 6:00 AM, shows lava fountaining at fissure 8 feeding channelized lava flows that flow into the ocean. Lava is still flowing out of fissure 8 unabated and the channel is full. At the start of the video, standing waves in the lava channel can be seen near the vent exit.

The channel appears crust-free from vent to the bend around Kapoho Crater. A surface crust forms over the channel as it spreads out during its approach to the ocean. The overflight along the ocean entry is from north to south along the coastline. The ocean entry is active along the whole length – approximately 1 mile. Small litoral explosions are occurring and there are several plumes of laze.


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Been watching the events on Hawaii for days, amazing. Tough for those in the path of this.


It’s worse than we thought …. localized global warming has broken out

Robert in Busan

Please watch your language. ‘Localized global’ is an expression that just might catch on with the CAGW crowd.


In that first video, it almost looks as though there’s a humpback playing in the steaming water. (about 1 minute before the video ends)…


If you live on an active volcanic area in Hawaii, occasionally you’ll get a front row seat of how the islands were, and are, being formed.


movie is great…but it doesn’t give you the perspective of how close to people it really is

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..or how fast it’s really moving

bit chilly

lots of new real estate being created there.


Hawaii has been our fastest growing state for decades. I don’t mean the population, I mean the STATE!


Sucks if you live right next to it, but this IS how that entire chain of islands was formed. There’s no point whatsoever in taking the weather and geologic phenomena personally; it’s not ABOUT us, it’s just the Earth doing what it does . . . maybe the AGW doom cult will figure this out someday, too.

Eric Simpson

It’s God’s wrath for us evil sinners emitting CO2. Repent! /

It is a weird contrast how some of the homes very close to the eruption at fissure 8 are 100% fine, while those hundreds in the two ocean side communities at Kapoho were devastated. One week prior to their destruction, the residents had no idea. The eruption was just an interesting event effecting people ‘over there’. Them BLAMO! Their communities were cut of from the rest of the world, then destroyed.


Wait for it… wait for it…!!!

And here it is…

Climate Change May Increase Volcanic Eruptions
“The rapid rise in sea levels could cause a dramatic increase in volcanic eruptions, according to a new study.”

Folks, There just ain’t nuttin’ TheMagicMolecule™ can’t do!!

Bruce Cobb

Just you wait, ClimateChange is gonna get you. Right when you least expect it too – BAM! It’s sneaky, see. NinjaClimate™ I call it. In fact, I think I have a climate headache coming on.


Instant Climate Change’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead

With apologies to the late John Lennon.

Mark Webb

How late is he?


In case anyone cannot sleep tonight for worry about the “rapid”(?) sea level rise and the prospect of volcanoes erupting just about everywhere , the link that you kindly supplied has this section ;
-“But even if anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change impacts volcanic eruptions, people wouldn’t see the effect in this lifetime, because the volcanic activity doesn’t occur immediately after the climate change, Jegen said.
“We predict there’s a time lag of about 2,500 years,” Jegen said. “So even if we change the climate, you wouldn’t really expect anything to happen in the next few thousand years.” -”

Sweet dreams everyone .


They why is there now lava where all those houses were?

An inspection of a map of that area of the Big Island shows big lava flow fields from 1955 and 1960, and again 1983 into the 1990’s.

The State of Hawaii encouraged home building in lava flow hazard areas by providing insurance program when all the commercial property insurers refused to insure homes in those risk areas.

Those Hawaii politicians are going to need to blame something besides themselves for all those homes lost and massive costs to the State in making good on all those tax-payer backed insurance claims.
Climate Change is the ultimate political incompetence get-out-of-jail card, and the goto excuse now.


No such thing as Hawaiian State providing lava/eruption insurance


So it’s non-falsifiable “Climate Seance.”


Climate Derangement Syndrome. Did the study involve models?

Mark Webb

Yes, naked ones….

Smart Rock

Joel – just in case climate change didn’t do it, it turns out that fracking did:


It has to be human-caused after all, right?


And so much work done by such a small amount of energy! It puts a perpetual energy machine to shame.

There is a large portion of the community that is blaming the local geothermal power plant (PGV) for the eruption.

So lets add up all the evil power generation methods
1: Combustion
2: Hydro
3: Nuclear
4: Geothermal?
The protesters claim PGV was fracking (Haven’t presented evidence), and the fracking enabled the lava to flow to the Lower Puna area (Also known as the Lower East Rift Zone). The fact that this is a long known fault line doesn’t seem to be relevant.

Sam Pyeatte

The far-left wackos will believe what they want to. I just think it is a magnificent display of nature’s force as it increases the size of the island.

Robert in Busan

Highest salutations and admiration to Anthony for bringing us this site. Endlessly fascinating and diverse content you cannot get anywhere else. From both the articles and comments, I am exposed to both deep and light info, learning about everything from the intricacies of tide gauges to the latest social constructs, such as new acronyms like ‘LGBTQWERTY’. From tilting at wind ‘mills’ (South Australia) to the latest in West Texas fracking projections. From not so epic battles (solar panels vs. the hurricane in St. Thomas) to the oh so human foibles (if not mendacities) of CAGW crusaders. Thank you!


(and everything you never wanted to know about bill nye’s ties)…


We’ve had conferences to fix the Ozone hole;
We’ve had conferences to control climate changing;

So lets have a few conferences to stop a volcano…simples !!!


And maybe some demonstrations, including protestors wearing cone-heads, protesting volcanism. Then followed by demands to sacrifice internal combustion engines to the volcano.

Sam Pyeatte

I heard they wanted to sacrifice a virgin to the lava, but there were no volunteers.


Or no virgins.


“shows massive devastation” ? I see creation. Without this there would be no Hawaii.

Richard of NZ

Shiva in action? Perhaps those Hindus have the correct idea.

Some 600-700 homes have been destroyed, nearly all of them when the flow reached the Kapoho area. The destruction doesn’t show up on video well as the house foundations are covered with lava and the lake in the Green Mountain crater boiled away in 2.5 hours.

There is no estimate when the eruption will stop (or even let up!), The island may wind up with a lot of new land by then.

Sam Pyeatte

The eruption could go on for years, or end next week.

It is OK to talk about the new land creation, but don’t minimize the loss to the owners of the hundreds of homes destroyed. I realize that they built them on a fault line of an active volcano, but the loss to those people is no less.

Did you know, a 1970s supreme court case ruled that new land belongs to the state, not the adjacent land owner.

J Mac

Awe inspiring displays…. superlative descriptors are insufficient to adequately evoke the volcanic forces on display! A Terrible Beauty….


Anyone besides me wonder if this has anything to do with the Earth’s magnetic poles wanting to swap ends?

That is a very informative video. Thanks for providing it.

I’m waiting to see what happens in the East African rift zone. Once the rupture starts, cain’t nothing stop it.

Happy Fathers Day to any Dads out there in the internet.


There are geologist that comment here that can better explain it. The Earth has been cooling since it was created but the rate of cooling is not constant. While I don’t believe Hawaii is over a tectonic plate but a “hot spot”. Tectonic plates do not slide continuously but in fits and starts. If I remember correctly there is another growing “island” over the hot spot under the sea to the east or southeast of the Big Island that ultimately will be the next island in the chain. If you look at a good undersea map the line of seamounts Hawaii is on stretches all the way to the Aleutians. The seamounts in the chain are fished by longliners and sablefish (black cod) trappers.


Thanks, Edwin. I was just wondering how much “stirring the pot” might be associated with the magnetic poles swapping positions.


We’ve had volcanoes since the earth was young.


Indeed we have, which makes this all the more spectacular.

I’m guessing, but I think this “hot spot” may not die back and cool off for a long while. I know the islands are quite different from Iceland, which is slowly moving apart, but there is a dirth of real information about how much magma can come out of one of these hot spot volcanoes.

Erta Ale, for example, sits on a rift zone and has gone from mostly noise and lava lake in 2005 to a full blown full caldera spillover, and I do not think it will be long before it becomes a fountain eruption like Kilauea.

John F. Hultquist

The Yellowstone hot spot has been “there” for 50 million years. A lot of surface changes have happened since then. A few of the changes can be associated with the hot spot. Others not so much.
I’m sure my SUV had nothing to do with any of these things.


“Anyone besides me wonder if this has anything to do with the Earth’s magnetic poles wanting to swap ends? ”


alatair Gray

The river of lava stays red hot and fluid over several miles and over a considerable time interval I am surprised that it does not freeze sooner. any thoughts anyone?

Bruce Cobb

It is similar to molten glass, which maintains its heat similarly. The immediate surface will tend to freeze (relatively speaking), but that acts as an insulator, allowing the hotter, more liquid material to flow freely underneath.

The lava is a tremendous thermal mass and a tremendous rate of flow.

If it were a lesser flow, the surface would have a chance to form a crust from the sides of the channel and across the flow, forming a lava tube. There’s so much lava here that a crust can’t form until it gets closer to the ocean where it spreads out.


Lava tubes usually form in pre-existing river beds with steep banks. The crust forms a thin roof across the former river then the lava flow level can drop, reducing stress on the thin skin roof, which helps weld it solid as it cools some. Further rises in flow level (or much later eruptions) can add another layer or three to the roof’s thickness, plus lava degassing can splatter-coat the inside roof to further build up its inner thickness and arch support strength (making it more tube like).


This is typical of shield volcanoes with low-viscosity basaltic lava. It forms a flat, shield-like mountain rather than a cone. It is also the reason that the Hawaiian islands are so much larger than “normal” volcanic islands.


Interesting that these eruptions are classed as low explosive as some long periods previously have been high explosive. All relative of course as not as bad as the recent Central America eruptions.
I’ve noted too a bit of hype about the water table and the crater of Kiliuea.

USGS says the lave starts at 15mph, slowing at the delta to 2 mph. My calculations show the channel is 6.5 miles and the delta about 1.5 miles. That makes the transit time from fissure 8 to the ocean about 75 minutes.

Jim Allison

Current evidence that “Creation” was not an event. it is a PROCESS!


Sunday June 17 2018, 16:44:22 UTC 4 hours ago 17km SE of Volcano, Hawaii 2.7 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:43:51 UTC 4 hours ago 5km WSW of Volcano, Hawaii 2.5 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:40:35 UTC 4 hours ago 7km W of Volcano, Hawaii 2.0 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:31:35 UTC 4 hours ago 5km W of Volcano, Hawaii 2.3 R

Sunday June 17 2018, 16:26:13 UTC 4 hours ago 5km WSW of Volcano, Hawaii 5.3 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:26:13 UTC 4 hours ago 5km SW of Volcano, Hawaii 3.7 R

Sunday June 17 2018, 16:25:29 UTC 4 hours ago 5km N of Mountain View, Hawaii 3.8 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:23:05 UTC 4 hours ago 4km SW of Volcano, Hawaii 2.3 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:21:33 UTC 4 hours ago 4km SW of Volcano, Hawaii 2.6 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:14:59 UTC 4 hours ago 5km WSW of Volcano, Hawaii 3.9 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:13:18 UTC 4 hours ago 4km SW of Volcano, Hawaii 3.7 R
Sunday June 17 2018, 16:12:43 UTC 4 hours ago 4km SW of Volcano, Hawaii 3.6 R

Oh. Earthquake magnitudes.


Only 5.3 Richter.

Hocus Locus

1. premature detonation
2. massive devastation
3. magnificent desolation

I think my posts earlier were better. See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/06/14/the-month-long-kilauea-eruption-as-seen-from-orbit/#comment-2378720

The vent-to-sea video is useful only for the flyover along the coast to show how wide the lava delta is. There’s a real vent-to-sea (all six miles) from a lower altitude. I think it’s on my FB page, hang on….

Yeah, here it is. Seven minutes to fly the six miles to the coast and then the mile along the coast. The wind was blowing parallel to the coast and all the steam and laze (lava + haze and hydrochloric acid and glassy shards) block the view, so Anthony’s video is better along the coast.

Also, I suspect most of the hot lava is reaching the water well below the sea surface, so the steam is condensing before it gets to the surface so there’s less steam along the coast than in my link here. There may be more lava flowing now than on the 7th!

David Middleton – does my suggestion make sense?

My FB description:

This is from Thursday AM [June 7th) and shows the entire length of the active lava flow of the Kilauea eruption from the source, fissure 8 in Leilani Estates, to the ocean. Six miles long, IIRC.

Along the way the flow passes several other fissures seen steaming in the distance, a not very good view of Green Mt where a spur entered its crater and evaporated an important lake, and through the communities where several hundred homes were destroyed and into Kapoho Bay which is now new land.


And the world was torn asunder, as the earth was born anew.

Popped into my head when I watch this.
Mother nature is truly beautiful in her power.

Joe Armstrong

Putting things in perspective (as of 6/16/18)

The size of the big island of Hawaii is 4,008 square miles. It is bigger than all of the other islands combined and bigger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

The lava flow from the current Kilauea volcano eruption covers 9.2 square miles or .23% of the big island. It flows downhill to the sea on the lightly populated southeast part of the big island. The volcano has been active and erupting for over 20 years.

The 416 wildfire in southern Colorado near Durango is at 51.6 square miles, over 5 times the size of the lava flow. Colorado is 104,185 square miles, so the fire covers .05% of the state. The fire started on June 1.

Can you imagine if this had happened in a wild fire prone state? The Hawaiian jungle doesn’t burn well, so no wild fires started (that I heard of). In Colorado, the whole state may have burnt.



Some people are calling the amazing lava flow at Fissure 8 “Pu’u o’o Leilani,” I hope it sticks.

I can’t imagine how much energy it takes to maintain that flow, but I can compute it! Suppose we wanted to create our own by melting surface rock and making our own fissure.

Folks at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory estimate the flow is currently 100 cubic meters (m^3) per second. I’m sure its nowhere close to that, but given the unknown cross section of the channel, the unknown velocity through all but the surface of the channel, etc. I’m happy to call it 100 m^3/sec. We’ll get back to that in a moment.

What does it take to melt a single kilogram of basalt? First we need to know some key physical parameters. I found http://www.science.smith.edu/geosciences/petrology/Assignments/Enthalpy.pdf and this table tells us what we need to know:

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Okay, first we need to raise our sample to the melting point. Let’s assume it starts at 25 °C and we need to get to 1100 °C, that’s 1075 * 1.4 = 1500 kJ. Next we need to melt the basalt, 400 kJ. Then we need to raise to the fissure temperature. The table says 1350°C, and that may have been a Kilauea temperature. I’ve read 2100°F, but that’s only 1150°C. Sticking with 1350°C, that’s another 250 x 1 = 250 kJ. The total is 2150 kJ. (I.e. two kW for 1000 seconds – 17 minutes, sounds about right.

The flow rate is 100 m^3/second. A cubic meter at would be 3 tonnes (that density seems low), so 300000 kg/sec (seems amazing). Times 2150, and shifting by a couple of SI steps, and we have 645 GW. I think it’s in the ball park.

A typical big fossil fuel or nuclear power plant puts out some 1 GW, but at only about 50% efficiency, so each could put out 2 GW of heat. Of course, it would take a “little” reengineering for the high temperature application.

So, we could melt enough basalt to run Pu’u o’o Leilani with only about 300 power plants. I’m surprised it’s so few, I was expecting thousands to millions.


“So, we could melt enough basalt to run Pu’u o’o Leilani with only about 300 power plants. I’m surprised it’s so few, I was expecting thousands to millions.”

But then this is a small eruption. The flow from Laki in Iceland 1783-84 was about 1000 m3/s average for a eight-month period and the Eldgjá eruption in 934 was even larger.


where’s darth vader battling obi wan?


Some of the lava remains on land. This shift will lower the ocean floor a little, and sea level will drop correspondingly. That’s will be the next excuse for model failures.


As I am continuing to be fascinated by the eruption, and of course concerned about its impact on the people who’s homes are in the way, I can’t help but be impressed by the amount of energy.
At one point I heard or read that there were between 1-4 million cubic meters of lava per day being expelled from fissure 8. I also remember someone saying the lava was about 2000 degrees F.
From what I can find, a cubic meter of basalt is right around 3000 Kg. Also, Basalt has a heat capacity of about 2000 J per Kg per degree K. That means that for each cubic meter coming out of the volcano, it is somewhere between 1 and 2 KWh of energy.
Which means that fissure 8 is producing heat energy very close to the total amount of electricity being consumed by the entire US!
Someone should check my figures. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

I also saw that the steam plume rising form the ocean entry makes it to between 8 and 10 thousand feet where it cools and is producing a steady rain. where does that energy go once the steam condenses?
I’m hoping this will be interesting to Willis. I don’t have the time to go further but hope someone does.



That’s not steam,. that’s laze (Lava Haze), which is considered a volcanic hazard since it contains hydrochloric acid and particles of volcanic glass in addition to the water vapor!

> I don’t have the time to go further but hope someone does.

Ah, but will you read it? 🙂


I wonder if they have an air quality permit for those emissions.


Daily eruption updates here:

They also have great maps that show how the eruprion developed!

When the lava was less channelized, I had been making animated gif files of the maps. It was amazing to see how rapidly the lava was eating up land…. And how lucky PGV (the local geothermal power plant) was to not get destroyed.


The geomagnetic storm caused a sudden increase in seismic activity. Another earthquake above 5 Richter in the area of the Kilauea volcano.
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Oh come on ren, “caused”? You should be debunking your own preconceptions or assumptions before it goes that far.

Linnea C Lueken

Removing the human element, it’s interesting to see in real time the processes that allow Hawaii to exist. With the movement of the Pacific plate, the Hawaiian hot spot does too! As the Big Island grows, the little ones towards the end of the chain are consumed by the sea.

20:50 of the first video shows you all that is left of the Kapoho Beach Lots community. 2 houses.

The older USGS maps show the roads. Here’s May 20th, when fissure 18 wasn’t very active and other flows were reached the sea but nowhere near Kapoho:

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Then things consolidated around fissure 18 and the lava flow took the left fork around the rift zone and Kapoho was flooded in just a couple days.

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Here’s a decent summary of the activity from summit to ocean, April to June.


Tom Gelsthorpe

I’m a big fan of WUWT, and often post to amplify good points made, and/or warn Nervous Nellies away from doomsday scenarios stoked by short-term perspectives.

I have just one quibble this time, with the headline ending, “massive devastation.” Lava flows build land. The Hawaiian archipelago wouldn’t be there, but for volcanic eruptions; nor would the eastern Caribbean islands, nor the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, nor much of Sicily & Italy, nor many of the most fertile soils on earth.

It’s more a question of timing, and how soil later develops and gets colonized, whether a volcano is “devastating” or not. I wouldn’t prefer a world without the Isles of the Caribbees, nor Costa Rican bananas, nor the lofty heights of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Rainier. But I wouldn’t have wanted to live in Pompeii in August 79, if I’d known what was to come.

800+ homes destroyed is fairly devastating…

Liberal Soup n Crackers

It’s Rural Renewal


Another change I did not see mentioned here is what is happening to the summit of Kilauea.
“This animated GIF..Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 and June 18 at about 6:00 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the return, with bright areas indicating a strong return and dark areas a weak return. Strong returns indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak returns come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. Over time, expansion of the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u crater and the widening of Halema‘uma‘u itself are clear. The last five images in the sequence, from May 29-June 18, show the development of several cracks outside Halema‘uma‘u (also seen in recent UAS footage of the crater) and inward slumping of a large portion of the western, southwestern, and northern crater rim. Much of this motion appears to be coincident with the small explosions from the summit that have taken place on a near daily basis over the past 3 weeks. We expect this slumping to continue as long as the explosions and overall subsidence persist.”

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