Pu’u O’o on October 3, 1997. This is the vent at the site where current eruptions are occuring. Pierrehttp://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/current_volcs/kilauea/kilauea.html
Facts about Kilauea Volcano
Location 19.425 N 155.292 W
Elevation above sea level 4,190 ft
Area 552 mi2 (13.7% of Hawai`i)
Volume 6,000-8,500 mi3
The caldera itself has no Hawaiian name other than Kilauea but contains the famous crater, Halema`uma`u; “hale” means house, “ma`uma`u” is a type of fern. Kamapua`a, was a jilted suitor of the goddess Pele, is said to have built a house of ferns over Halema`uma`u to keep Pele from escaping her home and causing eruptions. In the end it failed.
Dimension: 6 x 6 km (outermost faults), 3 x 5 km (main depression)
Depth: 165 m deep
Age: probably several incremental collapses 500-210 years ago
Oldest Dated Rocks
23,000 years old
Estimated Age of Earliest Subaerial Eruptions
Estimated Age of First Eruption of Kilauea
300,000-600,000 years before present
Eruption History of the Kilauea Volcano
Kilauea began to form about 300,000-600,000 years ago and it has been erupting ever since. Kilauea rose above the surface of the sea as an island perhaps 50,000-100,000 years ago.
Throughout its life Kilauea has erupted from three main areas, its summit and two rift zones. The high summit of the volcano is a result of more frequent eruptions than other locations on the volcano.
Eruptions along the east rift zone have built a ridge that extends from the summit 125 km and the southwest rift zones have built ridges reaching outward 35 km.
Most eruptions are non-explosive, sending lava flows slowly down slope. As these eruptions continue they gradually build up the volcano and give it its gentle topography. (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/history/main.html)
Find out more about historical eruptions of Kilauea!
Active Volcanic Eruptions
Kilauea is the youngest volcano on the Island of Hawaii. Research over the past few decades shows that Kilauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth.
Kilauea caldera was the site of continuous activity during the 19th century and the early part of this century. Since 1952 there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the east rift zone. All in all, Kilauea ranks among the world’s most active volcanoes and may even be on top of the list.
On January 3, 2003 the ongoing volcanic eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island turned 20 years old, becoming Earth’s longest- ever recorded eruption in history.
Learn about the hazards of Kilauea!
Thin strands of volcanic glass drawn out from molten lava are called Pele’s hair. One strand has a diameter of less than 0.5 mm, and may be 2 m long. They are formed by the stretching or blowing-out of molten basaltic glass from lava, usually from lava fountains, Pele’s hair is often carried high into the air during fountaining, and wind can blow the glass threads several tens of kilometers from a vent.
Small bits of molten lava in fountains can cool quickly and solidify into glass particles shaped like spheres or tear drops called Pele’s tears, They are jet black in color and are often found on one end of a strand of Pele’s hair.
Photograph of Pele’s Tears Photograph by J.D. Griggs in November 198