Kilauea volcano is the youngest and most active of the Hawaiian shield volcanoes. Kilauea is located on the southern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi, known as Big Island, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park . The largest and southernmost of the Hawaiian Island chain, the Island of Hawaiʻi owes its very existence to this ongoing volcanic activity.
Kilauea Volcano – The Most Active Volcano in the World
Kilauea volcano is the youngest land-based volcano in this volcanic Hawaiian hotspot and is not only the most active volcano in Hawai’i but in the world, as well. Kilauea is a shield volcano, meaning that it is built almost entirely of lava flows. At present, Kilauea volcano is virtually always erupting from vents either on the caldera (the summit) or via the rift zones. In fact, Kilauea volcano is presently still in the midst of producing one of the longest eruptions in recorded history. This current eruption began in 1983 on the eastern rift zone and shows little evidence of slowing down any time soon.
Halema’uma’u – Home of Pele – the Hawaiian Fire Goddess
Kilauea volcano has been in near-constant activity back past written history and on into the oral history of Hawaiian Polynesian legends. There, Kilauea figures regularly and prominently with a central crater, Halema’uma’u, that the legends make home to the fire goddess, Pele.
More modern documentation of its activity goes back to the 1820’s, when it’s eruptions began to attract inquisitive visitor from all around the world. To this day it remains one of volcanology’s hot spots – both figuratively and literally.
Kilauea volcano’s large central crater, Halema’uma’u, contained a lake of lava until 1924 and lava flows that extend to the sea on both sides. The current, long-term eruption from the East rift zone has produced lava flows that cover more than 60 square miles, adding new coastline to the island and destroying nearly 200 homes in the process.
Visiting Kilauea Volcano
Visitors can take guided hikes of Kilauea volcano, guided bike tours, and even visit areas where lava meets the sea! Be sure to check out our Things To Do page for a list of tours and other Kilauea Volcano related activities.
Kilauea Volcano Status
You can check on the status of Kilauea at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Recent Kilauea Status Reports, Updates, and Information Releases page.