Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Volcanic Hazards


Hazard Zones for Lava Flows on the Island of Hawai`i

Hazard zones from lava flows on the Island of Hawai`i are based chiefly on the location and frequency of historic and prehistoric eruptions and the topography of the volcanoes. Scientists have prepared a map that divides the five volcanoes of the Island of Hawai`i into zones that are ranked from 1 through 9 based on the relative likelihood of coverage by lava flows.

Zone Percentage of area covered by lava since 1800 Percentage of area covered by lava in last 750 years Explanation
1 greater than 25 greater than 65 Includes the summits and rift zones of Kilauea and Mauna Loa where vents have been repeatedly active in historic time.
2 15-25 25-75 Areas adjacent to and downslope of active rift zones.
3 1-5 15-75 Areas gradationally less hazardous than Zone 2 because of greater distance from recently active vents and/or because the topography makes it less likely that flows will cover these areas.
4 about 5 less than 15 Includes all of Hualalai, where the frequency of eruptions is lower than on Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Flows typically cover large areas.
5 none about 50 Areas currently protected from lava flows by the topography of the volcano.
6 none very little Same as Zone 5.
7 none none 20 percent of this area covered by lava in the last 10,000 yrs.
8 none none Only a few percent of this area covered in the past 10,000 yrs.
9 none none No eruption in this area for the past 60,000 yrs.

Wright, T.L., Chu, J.Y., Esposo, J., Heliker, C., Hodge, J., Lockwood, J.P., and Vogt, S.M., 1992, Map showing lava-flow hazard zones, island of Hawaii: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2193, scale 1:250,000.

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Updated : 1 June 2000 (SRB)