USGS
Hawaiian Volcano 
Observatory

Photo Information


View toward the east across Kilauea Caldera and Halema`uma`u toward 
distant Pu`u `O`o vent and Mauna Ulu
Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on November 14, 1997

Aerial view is from above the southwest caldera rim toward the east. Halema`uma`u (center right) was in eruption almost continuously from when it was recognized as a persistent vent and lava lake at its current location in 1838-40 to 1924. Other vents were active within the caldera, however, when first visited by westeners in 1823. Cones on the distant skyline, from left to right, are:

  • Currently active Pu`u `O`o cinder and spatter cone (note volcanic gas plume)
  • Kane Nui o Hamo shield, built by eruptions between about 500 and 750 years ago (the size of the shield and large extent of its lava flows suggest that this was the longest and most stable prehistoric eruption of any known along either of Kilauea's rift zones)
  • Mauna Ulu shield, built by eruptions between 1969 and 1974

Crater Rim Drive (bottom) descends into the caldera. Here the road is paved atop a layer of fragemented debris 1-2 m thick that was erupted during a series of explosions ending in A.D. 1790

Tour of Kilauea Caldera


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Updated: 14 September 1998