Kilauea History and Interesting Facts

Kiluaea Volcano Helicopter Tour

Kilauea Volcano has been in the news a lot lately, due to its latest eruptions. The history of Kilauea is actually very interesting, and this is not the first time that it has been in the headlines. Read below to find out more information about the history of Kilauea.


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  • Kilauea is a shield volcano, which means it has a broad dome shaped as opposed to a steep peak.
  • It is the youngest of the Hawaiian shield volcanos.
  • The caldera (the deep depression at the top of Kilauea) is known as Halema‘uma‘u and is said to be the home of Hawaiian Fire Goddess Pele.
  • Kilauea is one of five volcanos that make up the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Most of Kilauea’s eruptions are nonexplosive and involve the slow overflow and spread of lava over time.
  • Because Mauna Loa and Kilauea are still active, the Big Island is slowly growing in size.
  • Kilauea’s lava flows have destroyed over 150 houses since it began erupting again in 1983.
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History of Kiluaea


History of Kiluaea

Kiluaea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world with documented eruptions in 1790, 1924, 1934, 1955, 1959, near continuous eruptions from 1960 to 1983 and a continuing eruption from 1983-2018.

1790 - A steam explosion killed at least 80 people, mostly soldiers in the Hawaiian army, who were marching nearby.

1924 - An eruption killed one person and enlarged Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

1955 - A series of earthquakes and eruptions destroyed more than 6 square miles over the course of 88 days as lava poured from various fissures.

1959 - An eruption produced spectacular lava fountains.

1960 - Kapoho village was destroyed and the summit of Kiluaea collapsed in this eruption.

1975 - A magnitude 7.2 earthquake and eruption at Kiluaea caused a 48-foot tsunami which killed 2 people.

“1983 to now - Kiluaea has been continuously erupting since 1983 and has made the news recently as a new series of fissures has opened up. Read our next blog to learn more about Kiluaea’s more recent eruptions!

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