Kilauea Crater Rim Drive

The colored number circles correspond to
the links on the right side of this page.

  1. Kilauea Visitor Center
  2. Sulphur Banks
  3. Steam Vents and Steaming Bluff
  4. Kilauea Overlook
  5. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory & Jaggar Museum
  6. Southwest Rift Zone
  7. Halemaumau Overlook
  8. Keanakakoi Overlooks
  9. Puu Puai Overlook
  10. Thurston Lava Tube
  11. Kilauea Iki Overlook

Crater Rim Drive, Stop 8 - Keanakakoi Overlooks

Keanakakoi pit crater is 115 feet (35 m) deep and about 1,500 feet (450 m) wide. Keanakakoi means "place of the adze" and is named for a dense layer of basalt that the Hawaiians used for making tools. Lavas from an eruption in 1877 buried this layer of rock. The lava on the floor of the crater is from the 1974 eruption.

In August of 1971, Kilauea erupted from fissures in and along the southeast part of the caldera. Although this eruption was only 10 hours long, it was very spectacular, generating fountains up to 250 feet (75 m) high, lava cascades, and lava flows that covered nearly one-fifth of the caldera floor. Lava is moving away from the fissures to the north (top left corner). Photograph by D.W. Peterson, U.S. Geological Survey, August 14, 1971.

Kilauea erupted again in July of 1974 from fissures in the Keanakakoi area and the south part of the caldera. Prior to the eruption, tilt at the summit decreased rapidly and tremor increased sharply. Lava covered the floors of Keanakakoi and Lua Manu craters. Notice the three erupting fissures. Crater Rim Drive is along the bottom of the photo. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, July 19, 1974.

Lava from the fissures cascaded over the rim of the caldera and nearly buried all of the flows from the August 1971 eruption. The lava moved north in a natural moat that rings the caldera. The moat is a result of the more frequent eruptions near Halemaumau that built that area higher. The eruption lasted about three days. Photograph by D.W. Peterson, U.S. Geological Survey, July 20, 1974.

Three spectacular spatter ramparts are near Keanakakoi crater. They can be visited along the trail that leads to the caldera overlook. A lava spillway (bottom center of the photo) drained lava onto the caldera floor. Photograph by E. Rodriguez, U.S. Geological Survey, August 1, 1974.

As Crater Rim Drive continues to the east it enters the rain forest. This side of the caldera receives about 100 inches (250 cm) of rain per year.

Written and Photographed by Steve Mattox except where stated.

Sources of Information

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