KILAUEA CALDERA, HAWAI’I
- Type: Volcanic Crater
- Diameter: ~1.16 Km
- Elevation: 1,227 m
- Age: ~280,000 years
- Location: Island of Hawai’i, USA – N 19° 24.4’ W 155° 17.0’
The island of Hawaiʻi is built from five separate shield volcanoes that erupted somewhat sequentially, one overlapping the other. Because Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are active volcanoes, the island of Hawai’i is still growing. Between January 1983 and September 2002, lava flows added 543 acres (220 ha) to the island. Lava flowing from Kīlauea has destroyed several towns.
Hawaiʻi is said to have been named after Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which some Polynesian people are said to have originated, the place where they transition to in the afterlife, or the realm of the gods and goddesses.
Older rocks have been recovered from Kīlauea’s submarine slopes and drill cores, providing some clues to the volcano’s origin. Estimates for the age of Kīlauea’s first-erupted lavas continue to evolve as more samples are collected and various dating methods are used. Current research indicates the first alkali-basalt lava flows erupted onto the ocean floor between 210,000 and 280,000 years ago, and the volcano transitioned from its pre-shield to shield-building stage about 155,000 years ago (USGS).