Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on September 26, 1997
From USGS site

According to Hawaiian legends, Hawaii's Big Island is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. Hawaiians have honored and respected Pele. After eruptions the local people leave offerings such as fruit, flowers and fish to thank her for her generosity. They believe lava flows forming new lands are a gift from Pele.
The Caldera at the summit, which is circled by the Crater Rim Drive in Volcano National Park, has no name but contains the crater Halema`uma`u.
Kilauea map

Map by J. Johnson, 2000
From USGS site

The word "hale" means house and "ma`uma`u" is a type of fern. Kamapua`a, who was a jilted suitor of the goddess, according to legend built a house of ferns over Halema`uma`u to keep Pele from escaping her home and causing eruptions. This effort obviously failed.
Kilauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Compared to Mauna Loa Kilauea is just a small bulge in it's southeastern flank. For many years Kilauea was thought to be a satellite of Mauna Loa but research has shown that Kilauea has its own magma-plumbing system. This system extends down more that 60 km into the earth. It is estimated that the first eruption of Kilauea was 300,000-600,000 years ago.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, has the Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road. I didn't get to tour the park but click here for some pictures around the park. The current eruption of Kilauea is from the cone of Pu`u `O`o (high point on skyline). January 3, 2005 marked the 22nd anniversary of the Pu`u `O`o eruption. Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have subdivided the multi-decade-long Pu`u `O`o eruption of Kilauea into "episodes". The current episode is number 55
Kilauea lava system

Diagram by J. Johnson


Current update of the eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i

USGS Image archive

Volcano Watch is a weekly newsletter written by the scientists at the US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Continue to photos

Hawaii home gif
Networking Photographs Archeology Misc Home