(Originally published November 2017, Updated October 2019)
One of the first things people think of when it comes to Hawaii is our magnificent volcanoes! Kilauea, one of the best-known of those volcanoes, is an active shield volcano. Since Kilauea is considered an active volcano, you may be asking yourself, how many times has Kilauea erupted? After all, as an active shield volcano, Kilauea has been known for its frequent outpouring of lava.
Overall, Kilauea is one of five volcanoes that make up the big island of Hawaii. Additionally, the volcano is also considered to the most active of all its sister volcanoes!
Kilauea’s Eruption History
Kilauea’s first well-documented eruption happened in 1823. But, the volcano has been erupting for many years before the 1800s.
From 1823 to today, Kilauea has been active, spewing out lava and erupting. Kilauea’s most recent eruption began in January of 1983 and settled down in September of 2018. Lasting more than 30, this eruption marked Kilauea’s longest period of activity.
Kilauea’s Surrounding Landscape
Because Kilauea has erupted so often, the surrounding nature and landscape are unique.
For example, when very active, volcanic sulfur dioxide often drifts in the air. This sulfur dioxide causes acid rain, which can interrupt plant growth. Regardless, wildlife thrives on other parts of the volcano.
Hawaiian Folklore about Kilauea
According to Hawaiian folklore, Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater is home to Pele. Pele is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes.
It’s said that Pele is pleasant when people respect her and her “body,” the volcano. Yet, legend says Pele gets upset when people take her rocks or disrespect her in any other way.
Luckily, the “punishment” for anyone who disrespects Pele is temporary. Most get bad luck, fire, and even a little lava until they return her rocks.
Most of Kilauea’s structure consists of solidified lava flows. Volcanic ash and rock fragments also make up the surface of the shield volcano. Still, much of Kilauea remains underwater. It’s grown up from the seafloor over the years, and it’s above-ground surface slopes gently.
Kilauea has a large caldera. A caldera is a depression in the ground that occurs after large amounts of magma leave a volcano chamber. The caldera covers about 2 square miles and is home to Halemaumau Crater!
How to See Kilauea
You can see Kilauea in one of three ways. First, you can see Kilauea from lookout spots throughout Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! Additionally, you can see Kilauea from the sea as well, where lava has flowed into the ocean in the past.
However, the absolute best way to see Kilauea is from the air! Tropical Helicopters’ Doors-Off-Over-the-Volcano tour gives you a unique view of Kilauea. There’s nothing like the feeling of soaring high over a massive volcano!
On a helicopter tour, you ditch the doors and feel the crisp breeze. As you fly around Kilauea, you get to see it from a variety of angles.
If you want to understand the natural impact of how many times has Kilauea erupted with your own eyes, then take an unforgettable doors-off helicopter tour with Tropical Helicopters!