Kilauea [key], volcano and caldera, 3,646 ft (1,111 m) deep, central Hawaii island, Hawaii, on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. One of the largest active calderas in the world, Kilauea has a circumference of c.8 mi (13 km) and is surrounded by a wall of volcanic rock 200 to 500 ft (61–152 m) high. In its floor is Halemaumau, a fiery pit crater. The usual level of the lake of molten lava is c.740 ft (230 m) below the pit's rim. Although most recent eruptions have involved relatively quiet lava flows, often from vents on the volcano's flanks, Kilauea has erupted explosively for long periods in the past 2,500 years, and it can produce pyroclastic flows. Its most recent eruption began in 1983, with significant lava flows (most recently in 2018) from vents on its flanks at times.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Physical Geography