This time last year, the newest eruption of Kilauea Volcano was still going strong in the Puna district of the Big Island. The previously active vents, in Halemaumau Crater and at Pu’u O’o, drained of lava at the end of April. Lava then moved underground, down the east rift zone, toward the southeast tip of the island. It resurfaced in May in Leilani Estates.
By the end of May, 24 fissures had discharged lava. Two of those sent flows down to the coast, but at the end of May the main eruption settled on Fissure 8. A river of lava flowed northeast, inundating Highway 132 and reaching the ocean at Kapoho Bay in early June. This flow continued into August, but by the end of that month all activity had more or less ceased. In all, more than 700 homes were destroyed during the eruption, but more than 800 acres of new land had been formed.
These photos show Fissure 8, the source of the main flow. The top photo shows Fissure 8’s location, bordered by houses in Leilani Estates that escaped destruction during the eruption. In the middle, the main crater and the ‘canal’ that channeled the flow toward the coast. Below, another view of Fissure 8 and the wasteland of destruction surrounding it.
PBS’s NOVA put out a show about the eruption earlier this year with some great information about what was actually going on during the eruption. It might be accessible on their site, PBS.org, or search online for the title of the show: PBS Nova Kīlauea: Hawaiʻi on Fire.