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Island of Hawai`i Lava-flow Hazard Zones

Maps showing volcanic hazard zones on the island of Hawai`i were first prepared in 1974 by Donal Mullineaux and Donald Peterson of the U.S. Geological Survey and were revised in 1987. The current map (simplified version appears below) divides the island into zones that are ranked from 1 through 9 (table of hazard-zone descriptions) based on the probability of coverage by lava flows. Other direct hazards from eruptions, such as tephra fallout and ground cracking and settling, are not specifically considered on this map; however, these hazards also tend to be greatest in the areas of highest hazard from lava flows.

Map of lava flow hazard zones for Island of Hawai`i

Hazard zones from lava flows are based chiefly on the location and frequency of both historic and prehistoric eruptions. Historic eruptions” include those for which there are written records, beginning in the early 1800’s, and those that are known from the oral traditions of the Hawaiians. Our knowledge of prehistoric eruptions is based on geologic mapping and dating of the old flows of each volcano. The hazard zones also take into account the larger topographic features of the volcanoes that will affect the distribution of lava flows. Finally, any hazard assessment is based on the assumption that future eruptions will be similar to those in the past.

More detailed information about lava flow hazard zones can be found inVolcanic and Seismic Hazards on the Island of Hawai`i and the map reference below.

NEWUsing Google Earth to determine Lava Flow Hazard Zones for Hawai`i County. This Volcano Watch Article announces the release of the first Google Earth mapping file made available by HVO: one that displays Lava Flow Hazard Zones for the County of Hawai`i on the Google Earth base. If you can find your house or even your neighborhood on Google Earth, you?ll be able to use this overlay to see what Lava Flow Hazard Zone you are in. Install Download Google EARTH if you haven?t already done so and click on http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/hazards/lavazones/HVO_LavaFlowHazardZones.kmz to view the Lava Flow Hazard Zones for Hawai`i County.

 

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.
ReferenceWright, 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.

References:

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.

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, text 1 p., scale 1:250,00

http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/hazards/LavaZonesTable.html