The 2018 eruption was part of an ongoing eruption sequence that started on January 3, 1983, with fissures breaking out along the East Rift Zone.
Over the next 3 years, constant fountaining from one vent built a cone named Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Eruptive activity continued from this vent until 2018, the longest East Rift Zone eruption ever recorded.
Landsat images show the area around Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. The 2018 lava flow emerged farther along the East Rift Zone to the northeast.