Hawaii: The 2018 Collapse of Kilauea Caldera

6min 57s Novice

What caused it to collapse? What have we learned?

In 2018, Kīlauea Volcano experienced its largest caldera collapse in more than 200 years profoundly changing the landscape. To describe what happened, we use a highly simplified cross section of a magma reservoir and the overlying caldera to look at the subterranean architecture of Kilauea, and to show how the massive outpouring of lava in 2018 caused the summit of the volcano to collapse.

This animation about the collapse of Kilauea Caldera during the catastrophic eruption in 2018, was written by Dr. Paul Segall, Stanford University based on ongoing geodetic research. We are indebted to the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Geological Survey, UNAVCO, and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.


  • Largest caldera collapse on Hawai`i in over 200 years
  • Bottom dropped up to 500 meters
  • Outpouring of lava covered 35 km2 of land destroying 700 homes.
  • Sensitive instruments indicate when and where lava might erupt