OCTOBER 23, 2005 ~ DAY 3

  Day 3 Home Page

  Field Stop 11:   Southwest Rift

  Field Stop 12:   Halemaumau Crater

  Field Stop 13:
  Napau Trail

  Field Stop 14:
  Ocean Entry @ Holei   Sea Arch

  Lava Hike!

  Funky Photo Gallery

  Hawaii Capstone
  Home Page



     After visiting the the Southwest Rift Zone, our group went to visit the    Halema'uma'u Crater the same morning. Halema'uma'u Crater is located on the    Southwest side of the Kilauea caldera at Kilauea's summit. Halema'uma'u Crater is    the home of Pele, the goddness of fire of Hawaii. To Hawaiians, Halema'uma'u    Crater is sacred place; traditional offerings can still be seen near the crater.

     A painting of Pele, goddness of volcanoes, by Arthur Johnsen.

      Map of Kilauea. Halemau'ma'u crater is located on the southwest part of the Kilauea    caldera. The gray shadow areas are the rift zones. Map is made by J. Johnson, 2000.
   Halema'uma'u Crater has experienced episodes of eruptions. The crater has been increasing    in size but decreasing in depth due to backfilling of the lava from eruptions. Currently,    Halema'uma'u Crater has a diameter of 3000 ft and depth of 280 ft.

History summary of Halema'uma'u Crater

  • During Captain Cooks' period, Halema'uma'u Crater was 800 ft deep and lava lake was formed.
  • In 1924, Halema'uma'u Crater erupted explosively. Before the 1924 eruption, the crater was only 1500 ft across. Hot magma, with a extreme temperature of 2100 degrees Fehrenheit, reached the base of the crater. Throughout the eruption, hot molten lava filled up the crater and formed a lava lake. Then, the lava lake started to drain to the east of Kilauea. Huge blocks of crater wall were melted and riped off by the lava flows. The drainage of the lava lake caused the base of the crater to thin. Groundwater broke through the crust and reached the hot lava causing series of huge steam explosions in the crater.
  • The eruption in 1924 caused Halema'uma'u to increase in size to 3000 ft wide and 1200 ft deep. It took numerous episodes of eruption to fill up the crater to its present form. The last major eruption occured in 1967. Lava from the 1967 eruption once filled up the crater to100 ft below its rim. Then, lava drained back into the magma chamber inside the crater.
  • Halema'uma'u Crater is now mostly covered by lava from the 1974 eruption.

     A view of the crater from the Halema'uma'u Crater overlook located on the Halema'uma'u    Trail. The collapsed blocks below the crater wall are called talus (with red arrows).

     East view of the crater from the Halema'uma'u Overlook. Flowers are one of the traditional    offerings to Goddness Pele.

     A view of the Halema'uma'u Crater's Wall. The yellow chemical on the crater wall is sulfur    dioxide which can be seen in many spots inside and around the crater. Steam leaks out from    the crater and around its rim. The red color on the wall are oxidation of the lava from Iron.


[Day 3 Home Page] [FS 11: Southwest Rift] [FS12: Halemaumau Crater]
[FS 13: Napau Trail] [FS 14: Holei Sea Arch] [Lava Hike!] [Capstone Home Page]