Plume from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
Kīlauea (IPA: [kiːlauea]) is an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five shield volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawaiʻi.
In Hawaiian, the word kīlauea means “spewing” or “much spreading”, in reference to the mountain’s frequent outpouring of lava. Issuing lava continuously since January 1983, Kīlauea is currently the most active volcano on the planet, an invaluable resource for volcanologists, and also the planet’s most visited active volcano.
Kīlauea is the most recent of a series of volcanoes that have created the Hawaiʻian Archipelago, as the Pacific Plate has moved and is moving over the Hawaiʻi hotspot (see Lōʻihi Seamount).
Kīlauea is located on Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi, in the United States. It lies against the southeast flank of much larger Mauna Loa volcano. Mauna Loa’s massive size and elevation (13,677 feet or 4,169 m) is a stark contrast to Kīlauea, which rises only 4,091 feet (1,247 m) above sea level, and thus from the summit caldera appears as a broad shelf of uplands well beneath the long profile of occasionally snow-capped Mauna Loa, 15 miles (24 km) distant.
Kīlauea is a very low, flat shield volcano – vastly different in profile from the high, sharply sloping peaks of stratovolcanoes like Mt. Fuji, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens.