On May 3, 2018, Kīlauea volcano’s East Rift Zone began its eruption. Of course, it was part of a larger eruption that truly began in 1983, but it hasn’t been quite so violent since.
On May 4, an earthquake clocking in at 6.9 on the Richter scale shook the Puna district. For months, massive fountains of lava spewed towards the sky, shooting boulders the size of cars far into the air, vomiting toxic fumes, and creating rivers of lava. Thousands were forced from their homes, and in just under a month, 24 fissures littered the area. A quarter of the Big Island’s power was cut off, and the highway between Kapoho and Pahoa was buried in molten rock.
According to geologist Scott Rowland, a volcano specialist from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, it was the “most destructive in the United States since at least the cataclysmic 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.” Perhaps the most impressive result of the whole thing is Fissure 8, located in Leilani Estates. At 180-feet high, the cone stands where people used to live and work.
Now, all these months later, the Big Island has changed considerably. While the eruption was officially declared to have ended on December 5, 2018, the aftermath is something that has changed the lives of everyone who calls the place home. Vast tracts of new land have been created in the ocean, and the sites of nearly 1000 homes are now covered in black, sharp rock.
The video you see above shows just how big Fissure 8 is. Shot on March 20, 2019, a person can be seen walking near the rim of the crater.