Mount Kilauea is the most famous volcano in Hawaii. It resides in the southeast in Mauna Loa. This volcano has one of the biggest craters of all volcanoes, consisting of 3,646 feet deep. It has an 8 mile circumference and is encompassed entirely by an enormous “wall of volcanic rock 200 to 500 ft high” (Mount Kilauea). “Mount Kilauea is a low and flat shield volcano that rises only 1,247 meters above sea level. Till date, the Kilauea volcano is the most active and the most visited volcano in the world” (Oak, By Manali). Mount Kilauea is the youngest volcano in Hawaii. It has a lava level of 740 ft. nder the rim. “Kilauea was formed under a hot spot under the crust.
So were the other volcanoes on the Big Island such as Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. There have been 34 eruptions since 1952 and 61 eruptions total” (Mount Kilauea). Hawaii has eight volcanoes and for the moment consists of 4,038 square miles. This will not be the case for long though, because thanks to Mount Kilauea, approximately forty-two acres are added each year from the eruptions. Mount Kilauea is only one of the five still-active volcanoes in Hawaii, but it is definitely the most famous.
This is due to a variety of reasons but not the least of which is the belief that the Mount Kilauea Volcano is the resting place of the infamous fire goddess Pele. Pele is a very interesting character in Hawaiian history. There are many stories but one of the most common stories tell of how she was born to a family with six sisters and was exiled for fighting with her elder sister Na-maka-o-Kaha’I and for seducing her husband. Assumed dead by her family she made her way to Hawaii where she dug numerous fire pits, eventually creating the Haleakala Volcano.
When she did this her older sister realized that she was still alive and went to kill her. “She succeeded in an epic battle of natural forces. Legend says her bones remain as a hill called Ka-iwi-o-Pele” (Pele). When she died she became a god and settled in “her final and eternal fire pit”, Mount Kilauea (Pele). Legend also says that she still appears from time to time before eruptions to seduce young men ever closer to her volcano, sealing their doom. In two hundred forty-five years the infamous Mount Kilauea has erupted 62 times.
An eruption begun in 1983 is still in process to this day. The eruptions at Mount Kilauea occur mainly from either the summit caldera or along the East and Southwest rift zones, which run parallel to the coastline” (Oak, By Manali). Most of the lava flows to the Pacific Ocean shore. “Much of the surface of Kilauea is comprised of lava that is around 1,000 years old while some part of the surface is about 600 years old” (Oak, By Manali). The little moisture that is gathered from the trade winds of the northeast is pushed away constantly by Mount Kilauea. This process has caused the surrounding region to be in a fairly constant rain shadow.
Another thing about the volcano is that it gives off sulfur dioxide whenever it erupts. “These factors produce a desert effect in the Kilauea region. The winds that flow in this region carry along the ash produced by the volcano, causing dunes and dust storms” (Oak, By Manali). Mt. Kilauea volcano has a complex system for magma plumbing. It extends all the way to the surface from about 60 km below the surface of the Earth. The lava is of the type basalt and it erupts from the volcano cone, flowing through system of tubes down the Pulama Pali, which is about 11 km to the sea.
Mount Kilauea is a volcano that will not be soon forgotten, especially since it is still one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It brings tourists from all over. They come to appreciate an infamously active volcano in its element. Even today we still have things to discover about it. “The Hawaiian Volcano laboratory has been set up to enable the researchers in volcanology to study the mount Kilauea volcano” (Oak, By Manali). It continues to interest scientists across the world. The Mt. Kilauea volcano, believed as being the present home of the volcano goddess, Pele, is truly one of the wonders of nature.
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