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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3064

Kīlauea—an Explosive Volcano in Hawai‘i

By Don Swanson, Dick Fiske, Tim Rose, Bruce Houghton, and Larry Mastin

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.1 MB)Summary

Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i, though best known for its frequent quiet eruptions of lava flows, has erupted explosively many times in its history—most recently in 2011. At least six such eruptions in the past 1,500 years sent ash into the jet stream, at the cruising altitudes for today’s aircraft. The eruption of 1790 remains the most lethal eruption known from a U.S. volcano. However, the tendency of Kīlauea’s 2 million annual visitors is to forget this dangerous potential. Cooperative research by scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey, Smithsonian Institution, and University of Hawai‘i is improving our understanding of Kīlauea’s explosive past and its potential for future violent eruptions.

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail: infoservices@usgs.gov

For additional information:
Contact HVO
Volcano Science Center, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
P.O. Box 51, 1 Crater Rim Road
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0051
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Swanson, Don, Fiske, Dick, Rose, Tim, Houghton, Bruce, and Mastin, Larry, 2011, Kīlauea—an Explosive Volcano in Hawai‘i: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3064, 4 p.




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