[101] After publishing a summary paper in 1852, he directed a detailed geological study of the island in 1880 and 1881 but did not consider Kīlauea a separate volcano, instead referring to it as a flank vent of Mauna Loa; it was not until another geologist, C. E. Dutton, had elaborated on Dana's research during an 1884 expedition that Kīlauea came to be generally accepted as a separate entity. [59], By May 31, 87 houses in Leilani Estates and nearby areas had been destroyed by lava. KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010) 19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m) Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is erupting. Lava briefly overflowed the vent onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu in April and May 2015, October 2016, and April 2018. [27], Kīlauea has a large summit caldera, measuring 4 by 3.2 km (2.5 by 2.0 mi) with walls up to 120 m (400 ft) high, breached by lava flows on the southwestern side. Kilauea is a shield-type volcano making up the south-eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii. [17], Kīlauea lacks a topographical prominence, appearing only as a bulge on the southeastern flank of the nearby Mauna Loa; because of this, both native Hawaiians and early geologists considered it an active satellite of its more massive neighbor. [22] Much of the volcano is covered in historical flows, and 90 percent of its surface dates from the last 1,100 years. On March 19, 2008, following several months of increased sulfur dioxide emissions and seismic tremor, a new vent opened at Halemaʻumaʻu at Kilauea's summit in an explosive eruption. The oldest flows, dating back 275,000 to 225,000 years, have been recovered from Kīlauea's submerged southern slope by ship-towed remotely operated vehicles. [28], The earliest reliable written records of historical activity date back to about 1820,[35] and the first well-documented eruption occurred in 1823, when the volcano was first put under observation;[22] although Native Hawaiians are thought to have first settled on the island around 1,500 years ago, oral records predating European arrival on the island are few and difficult to interpret. [6][7] The County of Hawaii reported that 716 dwellings were destroyed by lava. Evidence suggests the existence of an active eruptive center at this time, termed the Powers Caldera, whose fractures and faults lie 2 km (1 mi) outside the modern caldera. [22], Geologists have dated and documented dozens of major eruptions over the volcano's long history, bridging the long gap between Kīlauea's oldest known rock and only extremely recent written records and historical observation. [64], Together with the outbreak of lava in lower Puna, a lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu at Kilauea's summit began to drop on May 2, 2018. [13] The Hawaii island volcanoes are the most recent evidence of this process that, over 70 million years, has created the 6,000 km (3,700 mi)-long Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain. [37] The eruption lasted for 26 days and produced an estimated 205 to 265 million cubic meters of lava;[23] the light created by the event was so intense that one could reportedly read a newspaper in Hilo at night, 30 km (19 mi) away. In particular, the saddle between the two volcanoes is currently depressed, and is likely to fill over in the future. One of our best sellers in Volcano! Most historical eruptions occurred at the volcano's summit or its eastern rift zone, and were prolonged and effusive in character. [81], Kīlauea's ecological community is additionally threatened by the activity of the volcano itself;[31] lava flows often overrun sections of the volcano's forests and burn them down, and volcanic ash distributed by explosive eruptions often smothers local plant life. Plant life in the region is practically nonexistent. [37], The volcano was active again in 1868, 1877, 1884, 1885, 1894, and 1918,[23] before its next major eruption in 1918–1919. [105], Kīlauea has been a tourist attraction since the 1840s, and local businessmen such as Benjamin Pitman and George Lycurgus ran a series of hotels at the rim, including Volcano House, which is still the only hotel or restaurant located within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea is a shield volcano —a wide, flat volcano resembling a warrior shield composed mostly of hardened lava flows from earlier eruptions. Another missionary, C. S. Stewart, U.S.N., wrote of it in his journal 'A Residence in the Sandwich Islands', which Letitia Elizabeth Landon quoted from in the notes to her poem 'The Volcano of Ki-Rau-E-A' in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1832. [96] It is here that the conflict between Pele and the rain god Kamapuaʻa was centered; Halemaʻumaʻu, "House of the ʻamaʻumaʻu fern", derives its name from the struggle between the two gods. Kilauea volcano. Its physiographic province is 500 m (1,640 ft) deep, but it is unknown whether it is a shallow listric fault or if it penetrates to the very base of the volcano. [93] Early settlements had a major impact on the local ecosystem, and caused many extinctions, particularly amongst bird species, as well as introducing foreign plants and animals and increasing erosion rates. [22] What is known is that the summit caldera likely formed over several centuries, with its construction estimated to have begun about 500 years ago,[28] and its present form was finalized by a particularly powerful eruption in 1790. [45] In 1992, the eruption moved back to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but continued in the same manner, covering nearly all of the 1983–86 lava flows and large areas of coastline. The eruption created a new vent, covered a large area of land with lava, and added new land to the island. Scientists have two theories about the formation of the Hawaiian Islands. Historically, it is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. [85] The Kīlauea coast also hosts three of the nine known critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting sites on the island. [114][115], Kīlauea's Fissure 8 cone erupting on the morning of June 28, 2018, Effect of the 2018 lower Puna eruption on Kīlauea's summit, 2019–20: Water lake appears at the summit. The eruption was preceded by earthquake swarms centered at Kīlauea Caldera on November 30, 2020 and December 2, 2020, the second of which was interpreted as a small intrusion of magma. ", "Scientists warn of possible new vent and lava flow at Kilauea volcano", "Volcano Watch: What a day! The lava destroyed Hawaii's largest natural freshwater lake, covered substantial portions of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, and completely inundated the communities of Kapoho, Vacationland Hawaii and most of the Kapoho Beach Lots. Kilauea volcano, which overlaps the east flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. [17][23], During its observed history, the volume of lava erupted by Kīlauea has varied widely. [56] By May 9, 27 houses had been destroyed in Leilani Estates. The park provides a number of hiking trails, points of interest, and guided ranger programs. According to USGS, Kilauea is “considered to be in the shield-building stage of Hawaiian volcanism”. The majority of the species present on the island are endemic to it and can be found nowhere else on Earth, the result of an isolated evolutionary lineage sheltered from external biotic influence; this makes its ecosystem vulnerable both to invasive species and human development, and an estimated third of the island's natural flora and fauna has already gone extinct. Although it has since been largely buried by younger flows, it remains exposed in some places, and has been traced more than 20 km (12 mi) from the volcano's caldera, evidence of very powerful eruptions. The southwestern rift zone also lacks a well-defined ridge line or a large number of pit craters, evidence that it is also geologically less active than the eastern rift zone. [13] In connection with the 2018 lower Puna eruption the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory published some facts leading to the conclusion, that a catastrophic collapse would be incredibly remote. These lavas exhibit forms characteristic of early, submerged preshield-stage eruptive episodes, from when the volcano was still a rising seamount that had not yet breached the ocean surface,[34] and their surface exposure is unusual, as in most other volcanoes such lavas would have since been buried by more recent flows. [111] According to the National Park Service, Kīlauea is visited by roughly 2.6 million people annually, most of whom proceeded to visit the volcano from the Kilauea Visitor Center near the park entrance. Hawaiians associated elements of their natural environment with particular deities. Nonetheless, their proximity has led to a historical trend in which high activity at one volcano roughly coincides with low activity at the other. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell in veiled form of many eruptions fomented by an angry Pele before the first European, the missionary Rev. Nonetheless, wildlife flourishes where left undisturbed elsewhere on the volcano and is highly endemic thanks to Kīlauea's (and the island of Hawaiʻi's) isolation from the nearest landmass. There have been five historical eruptions at the volcano's relatively quiet southwestern rift zone, and 24 along its more active eastern rift zone, mostly along its upper section. [106], In 1891, Lorrin A. Thurston, grandson of the American missionary Asa Thurston and investor in hotels along the volcano's rim, began campaigning for a park on the volcano's slopes, an idea first proposed by William Richards Castle, Jr. in 1903. 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