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Halemaumau Crater, shown here, sits within the larger Kilauea Caldera. It is the site of the most recent eruptive activity at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. In the foreground you can see offerings left to the volcano goddess Pele.The group was led on a tour of explosive eruption deposits from Kilauea Volcano by Don Swanson, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory. Here, Don shows us a boulder ejected during the 1880 (?) eruption that has us transfixed.
This fissure in the Kau Desert, west of Kilauea?s summit illustrates the deformation that is occurring within the volcano. The South flank of Kilauea is slowly sliding towards the sea.Students line up during a lunch break.
This unique feature shows where lava sloshed up the side of a channel during the December 1974 eruption of Kilauea Volcano.ad and Jessica Williams peer down a ?tree mold?. Tree molds form when active lava flows surround and quench against trees.
Tree molds are hollow because the lava burns the tree, but the surrounding lava has already cooled and solidified against the trunk.Margaret Boettcher and Jessica Williams assist the Kilauea Police Department in enforcing strict speed limits on lava flows.  In actuality, this sign once marked the speed limit on a coastal highway that was covered by lava during the current Pu?u ?O?o-Kupaianaha eruption.
Hans Schouten offers us a great deal on what he tells us is some of the newest land on Earth. Hans is standing in front of the Hilina Pali (cliff), a fault that has formed due to deformation of Kilauea?s south flank.Adam Soule sits on his throne of lava, the undisputed king of his domain. The lava in the background has formed during the two decades of volcanic activity during the current eruption. Lava falling streams down the cliff in narrow pahoehoe toes that build, one on top of the other, producing this beautiful carapace of lava.
We had the wonderful opportunity to see flowing lava up close. Here we are watching a tumulus that has broken open revealing the 1200 deg C, incandescentMatt Jackson, against his better judgement, engages the lava in a battle of wits. Matt succeeded in sampling a small bit of lava, but Pele claimed his eyebrows as a souvenir.
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2004 Geodynamics Study Tour - Kilauea, Hawai'i
Kilauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Topographically Kilauea appears as only a bulge on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, and so for many years Kilauea was thought to be a mere satellite of its giant neighbor, not a separate volcano. However, research over the past few decades shows clearly that Kilauea has its own magma-plumbing system, extending to the surface from more than 60 km deep in the earth.

Kilauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell in veiled form of many eruptions fomented by an angry Pele before the first European, the missionary Rev. William Ellis, saw the summit in 1823. The caldera was the site of nearly continuous activity during the 19th century and the early part of this century. Since 1952 there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the east rift zone. All told, Kilauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list.

Source: USGS, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
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Halemaumau Crater, shown here, sits within the larger Kilauea Caldera. It is the site of the most recent eruptive activity at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. In the foreground you can see offerings left to the volcano goddess Pele.
Halemaumau Crater, shown here, sits within the larger Kilauea Caldera. It is the site of the most recent eruptive activity at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. In the foreground you can see offerings left to the volcano goddess Pele. (Photo by Hans Schouten, WHOI)
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