HUD HOC Reference Guide

Hazards & Nuisances: Lava Zones

Chapter 1
Appraisal & Property Requirements
Page 1-18i

Based upon potential volcano activity, FHA mortgage insurance is not available in lava flow zones 1 and 2 Areas.

Island of Hawaii: In 1971 HUD established a policy which responded to volcanic hazards on the Island of Hawaii. Under this policy certain areas were identified as being unacceptable for HUD programs. This policy was re-evaluated and the findings were posted in 1991. Except for a newly designated area to the northeast of Mauna Loa, the 1990 and 1971 HUD non-participation areas are not significantly changed in location or extent. The 1990 boundaries are more closely based on known geologic features and current estimates of the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (

HUD, in consultation with USGS. geologists at the Menlo Park Center in California ( and at the Volcano Observatory, reviewed 20 volcanic zones involving lava flows, subsidence and ground fracture, tephra falls, volcanic gas, and pyroclastic surge. Ultimately HUD identified two zones as being particularly hazardous. These are defined by the U.S.G.S. Observatory as lava flow zones #1 and #2 (

  • "Zone #1 consists of the summit areas and active parts of the rift zones of Kilaua and Mauna Loa�"*
  • "Zone #2 consists of several areas that are adjacent to and downslope from the active rift zones of Kilaua and Mauna Loa and therefore are subject to burial by lava flows of even small volume eruptions in those rift zones."*

It was concluded that these two zones should be classified as non-participation areas for the purpose of HUD program assistance. For the purpose of simplification and ease of administration the two zones were integrated so that a single (composite) zone or non-participation boundary line provides the basis for HUD�s volcanic hazard policy.

Most of the HUD non-participation area falls within parks, conservation areas, or other state and federally-owned lands where housing and other urban uses are prohibited. However, a limited extent of the non-participation area will not be enclosed by federal or state lands. In these areas we must rely entirely upon lava flow boundaries for zones #1 and #2, as defined by the USGS.

Hawaiian Lava Flow Maps and other information on this can be located on line at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site ( Select Lava Zones (

(Reference: *Mullineaux, D. R., Peterson, D. W., and Crandell, D. R., 1985, Volcanic Hazards in the Hawaiian Islands.)

Content Archived: October 25, 2012