Earth  ID: 30963

Probing Kilauea’s Plume

Though Hawaii’s Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, the eruption took a dangerous turn on May 3, 2018, when several new fissure eruptions emerged in a residential neighborhood (Leilani Estates). These images show observations of the height of the
plume on May 6, 2018, from the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) sensor on NASA’s Terra satellite.

The top map represents the sulfur-rich plume represented in three dimensions as it moved downwind of the active fissures. The second image depicts the same data as a cross section, with the height of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea for comparison. The MISR data indicate that, on May 6, the top of the plume was injected to roughly 1.5 km (1 mi) above sea level, but then descended several hundred meters as it moved 140 km (90 mi) downwind. Winds blew the plume southwest along the coast, but over the ocean, away from where people live. Low plumes like this are closely watched because they can pose health hazards if harmful gases and particles move toward population centers.

For More Information

NASA Earth Observatory


Amy Moran (GST): Lead Animator
Joshua Stevens (Science Systems and Applications Inc. (SSAI)): Lead Data Visualizer
Amy Moran (GST): Lead Technical Support
Ralph Kahn (NASA/GSFC): Lead Scientist
Adam P. Voiland (Science Systems and Applications Inc. (SSAI)): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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Data Used:
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Sulfur Dioxide
SVS >> Volcano
GCMD >> Location >> Hawaii
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Terra
SVS >> Geology
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Plume

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version