How Volcanoes Work

 Image Described in Caption
 Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii -- The Kilauea caldera is located at the summit area of the Kilauea shield volcano in Hawaii National Volcanic Park. It is shown here in a shaded elevation map, courtesy of NASA. Kilauea calder is 4 km in diameter. Incremental subsidence of caldera walls has gradually enlarged the caldera to create a nested structure of pits and terraces. The Halemaumau fire pit is located along the southeastern side of the caldera floor. The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lies on the high northwest terrace of the caldera, overlooking Halemaumau. The east-west elongated crater on the eastern side of the caldera wall is Kilauea Iki (little Kilauea), the site of spectacular fire fountaining in 1959. The small crater of Keanakakoi, the site of an explosive hydrovolcanic eruption in 1790 is located along the south rim of the caldera, midway between Halemaumau and Kilauea Iki.