The Hawaiian mountain, Mount Kilauea is in the top of the list of the ten most active volcanoes of the world. About 300,000 to 600,000 years old, this mountain came to the view above the sea level about 100,000 years ago. The mountain is a shield volcano by nature, which is full of fluid lava, and keeps flowing the entire time and can erupt any moment. The most active volcano is not just for the namesake. Mount Kilauea is the second most juvenile mountain after Lo’ihi seamount. The volcano is noted as the hub of Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, a well-known hotspot.
The oldest recorded lava from the mountain has been anteceded about 2800 years ago. The lava found along the underwater slopes of the mountain is about a thousand years old and covers about 90 percent of the surface. The first take down note of the eruption was in 1823, when the volcano was in its pre-shield stage, however violent. Mount Kilauea has been ceaselessly throwing up since 1983 and has caused a lot of devastations, loss of both life and property. This eruption was, without any doubt, of the longest duration. Records show that the eruption which took place in January 2011 spewed lava of 3.5 cubic kilometer volume and spread over an area of 123.2 square kilometers on land. Recently, on 28 May 2018, the volcano engulfed Puna geothermal power plant at Big Island.
Having the eastern rift erupting constantly, the pressure inside Kilauea’s magma chamber could be due the leakage of the lava material from the inner deep magma chamber of Moana Loa. There is no prominent peak seen in the mountain, just a bulge and subaerial in nature.
Due to the constant spewing up of the volcano, a lot of toxic gases are released into the atmosphere, which results in acid rains in the nearby islands. Even though plant growth in the surrounding islands being interrupted because of the high levels of toxic gases, yet, the environment thrives on its own. The vacant islands and no human interference in these areas have led to the growth of the population of endemic species of both flora and fauna. The locals of Hawaiian island consider Mount Kilauea as a sacred gift from nature and worship it as the body of Goddess of fire, Pele.
The very first detailed narration of Mount Kilauea was given in 1823 by a missionary from England, William Ellis who took a huge risk to travel along the volcano for two weeks. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory was set up by Thomas Jaggar in the rim of the mountain, has encouraged a number of investigatory projects regarding the activity of four volcanoes namely Kilauea, Moana Loa, Hualalai and Haleakala. A Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has also been set up and now declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, alluring uncountable number of tourists every year. One should definitely pack the bags to visit this dangerously beautiful volcano, at least once in his lifetime.