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Essay -Kilauea Volcanic Crater

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Hawaii consists of a string of islands, or an archapelago. Kilauea is located on

one of these islands, the central Hawaii island. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active

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volcanic craters. Craters are formed either by the massive collapse of material during

volcanic activity, by unusually violent explosions, or later by erosion during dormancy

(Comptons). It is situated on the southeastern slope of the great volcanic mountain

Mauna Loa. Its elevation is 1111 m (3646 ft.) above sea level. The crater has an area of

about 10 sq. km., which forms a great cavity in the side of the mountain. Volcanic

activity recently has been restricted to an inner crater called Halemaumau. Halemaumau

measures more than 900 m (about 3000 ft.) across and has a depth of about 400 m (about

1300 ft.). Kilauea has erupted at least once a year since 1952. The volcano spews an

average of 525,000 cubic yards of lava a day and by 1995 had added about 500 acres of

new land to the island (Encarta ‘98).

By June 1989, it had destroyed the visitors center at

the national park, a stretch of Kalapana Highway, and more than 65 houses by 1990.

Kilauea is located on a hot spot under the island, and the magma is thought to

come from a depth of at least 50 km. below the surface. A hot spot is an area of volcanic

activity near the center of two lithospeheric plates. Normally, lava streams constantly into

the floor of the crater from subterranean sources which either cools and hardens, or

accumulates until it drains off into other subterranean passages. When greater volcanic

activity occurs, the lava is subjected to sudden changes of level, where it may escape from

vents on the lower slope toward the sea.

Kilauea is classified as a shield volcano. Shield volcanoes have a low, broad

profile created by highly fluid basalt flows that spread over wide areas. The fluid basalt

usually only builds a cone around seven degrees steep. Over thousands of years though,

these cones can reach massive size, which is shown in the Hawaiian Island volcanoes.

The Hawaiian Islands are composed of shield volcanoes, that have been built up from the

sea floor. If measured from sea floor level, some of the Hawaiian volcanoes are the

worlds largest mountains in terms of both height and volume (Comptons).

In the 20th century, major flows occurred in 1920 and 1921, 1950, 1955, 1959,

1965, and 1969. The current eruption cycle, the longest-running in modern Hawaiian

history, began on January 3, 1983 (Encarta).


Cite this Essay -Kilauea Volcanic Crater

Essay -Kilauea Volcanic Crater. (2018, Jun 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/essay-kilauea-volcanic-crater/

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