Location of Kīlauea, schematic overview with caldera and rift zones

The Kīlauea ( German Kilauea ) is an active shield volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii belonging to Iceland. In the Hawaiian language kīlauea means " spewing " or " much spreading ". In the presently solidified caldera of Kīlauea is the active lava lake of Halemaumau Crater.


The Kīlauea is part of a chain of volcanoes, the Hawaiian - Emperor chain of islands extending from the Northeast Pacific to Hawaii. While the oceanic seafloor moved over a locally fixed hot spot in the mantle, he created over millions of years this long chain of islands, of which only a few islands are seen on the surface today. The most northerly is the island of Midway.

On Big Iceland are next to the Kīlauea two other active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and the Hualālai and probably two inactive volcanoes, Mauna Kea and the Kohala.

Volcanic activity

The Kīlauea is currently one of the most active volcanoes in the world. As with most volcanoes that sit on hotspots that are effusive eruptions: lava pours from the earth's interior upward and flows into continuous lava flows. Although the vast majority of eruptions thus has no explosive character, there are exceptions. For example occurred from 11 to 27 May 1924 a series of heavy explosions in the Halemaumau Crater, where extremely heavy rocks were thrown several kilometers from the crater. This was caused by large amounts of time inflowing groundwater, which Flashed at its contact with magma. Due to the increase in volume of the rock above it was blasted away. The vast number of outbreaks runs but peaceful, as the lava Hawaiian volcanoes has a very low viscosity. In the low-viscosity lava trapped gases can easily escape before an outbreak and not build up a high pressure, unlike, for example, the eruption of Mount St. Helens 1980 The viscosity of lava is influenced by several factors: . Their temperature, the chemical composition and their gas content.

The recent eruption of Kīlauea lasted for January 1983. He does not find in the main crater, but in about 15 km of which remote Puu Oo crater instead. The lava flow from there, sometimes up in the Pacific, where they become suddenly freezing cold by the sea water in spectacular fashion. The lava flows not the entire distance above ground, but common in lava tubes. Such tunnels are formed naturally and lead because of the thermal insulation effect to the fact that the lava flows cover much longer distances before their solidification. In the summit caldera itself is the active lava lake Halemaumau.


The Kīlauea and its adjoining craters is part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Iceland and is one of the most frequently visited tourist active volcanoes.

Signs of volcanic activity: sulfur deposits on the edge of Halemaumau crater in the caldera of Kīlauea

A covered with lava road on the way from the ranger station to the ocean

Aa lava at Kīlauea


In the Hawaiian religion of Halemaumau Crater applicable in the caldera of Kīlauea as the seat of the volcano goddess Pele.