Eruptions of Kīlauea

Listed below are just a few of the most recent and spectacular eruptions of this highly active volcano. Learn more about Kīlauea, the youngest volcano on the Island of Hawaiʻi.
Hand-colored photo of lava moving through a forest landscape

1919-1920 Eruption of Maunaiki

The Maunaiki eruption in the Kaʻū Desert lasted from December 1919 to August 1920.

Black and white photograph of human figures in front of an ash cloud

1924 Explosive Eruption of Kīlauea

For 18 days in 1924, hundreds of steam explosions from Kīlauea hurled mud, debris, and boulders great distances.

Black and white photo of molten lava at night, from above.

1952 Summit Eruption

The 1952 eruption at the summit of Kīlauea volcano lasted for 136 days.

Glowing orange molten lava lake from above.

1954 Summit Eruption

The short eruption of 1954 was not specifically predicted, but it was not unexpected.

Erupting lava fountain at night

1959 Eruption of Kīlauea Iki

The 1959 eruption out of Kīlauea Iki Crater featured a lake of lava and the highest lava fountains ever recorded.

Black and white photo of a lava fountain from above at night

1961 Summit Eruption

Halemaʻumaʻu crater hosted three eruptive phases during a seven month period of sporadic activity in 1961.

Pond of molten lava and rivulets from above

1967-1968 Summit Eruption

The spectacular eruption of 1967-1968 lasted 251 days.

Molten lava cascades into a crater

1969-1974 Eruption of Maunaulu

The eruption of Maunaulu lasted nearly five years and reshaped the landscape.

An erupting volcanic fissure at the base of a pit crater fountains orange molten lava and pools it

July 1974 Summit Eruption

The three-day eruption in July 1974 sent flows across Chain of Craters Road and into Kaluapele (Kīlauea caldera)

Erupting lava cone at night

1983-2018 Eruption of Puʻuʻōʻō

In the past 500 years, no rift zone eruption comes close to matching the duration of the one that began in 1983.

Silhouette of human figures in front of a glowing volcanic crater

2008-2018 Summit Eruption

The summit of Kīlauea hosted a lava lake-style eruption for a decade before the massive summit collapse in 2018.

Aerial view of a river of molten lava

2018 Eruption and Summit Collapse

The eruption of Kīlauea in 2018 was the largest in centuries and coincided with a dramatic summit collapse.

Erupting volcanic crater glowing at night

2020-2021 Summit Eruption

Photos and media from the eruption that began on December 20, 2020


Eruptions of Mauna Loa

Read about some of the more recent and notable eruptions of Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on the planet. Learn more about Mauna Loa.
Black and white photograph of devastated houses in a field of rubble

1868 Eruption of Mauna Loa

One of the deadliest disasters in Hawaiian history

Painting of an erupting volcano with a boat on the ocean in the foreground

1880-1881 Eruption of Mauna Loa

An eruption that threatened the city of Hilo and saw the first known attempts at lava diversion in Hawaiʻi

Black and white aerial photo of a bomb exploding on a lava flow

1935 Eruption of Mauna Loa

As the 1935 eruption began to close in on Hilo, aerial bombing was employed in an attempt to alter its course.

Black and white aerial photo of lava flow entering the sea

1950 Eruption of Mauna Loa

In June 1950, Mauna Loa sent large lava flows to the sea with blazing speed.

Molten lava flowing down a mountain side with a silhouetted mountain beyond at sunrise

1975 Eruption of Mauna Loa

The brief but spectacular eruption of 1975 lasted less than 24 hours

Helicopter on the ground in front fountains of orange molten lava

1984 Eruption of Mauna Loa

The last eruption of Mauna Loa before its longest recorded period of quiet


Learn More About Lava

Molten lava is only visible during an eruption, but its solidified form makes up the island of Hawaiʻi.

Last updated: April 29, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718


(808) 985-6011

Contact Us