High-risk lava zones with infrequent eruptions attract development

University of Hawaiʻi
kilauea eruption in 2018
Fissure 8 erupts in lava hazard zone 1, May 5, 2018. (Photo credit: Bruce Houghton)

The unprecedented cost of the 2018 Kiīlauea eruption in Hawaiʻi reflects the intersection of distinct physical and social phenomena: infrequent, highly destructive eruptions and atypically high population growth, according to a new study published in Nature Communications and led by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers.

It has long been recognized that areas in Puna, Hawaiʻi, are at high risk from lava flows. In fact, Puna lies within the three highest-risk lava hazard zones (1, 2 and 3). This ensured that land values were lower, which actively promoted rapid population growth.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.