May 24, 2003
The photo above was taken on a cloudy day (April 16, 2003) on the summit of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park. It shows Halema`uma`u Crater, which lies inside Kilauea's caldera and is 0.6 miles (about 1 km) in diameter. From 1905 until 1924, the crater contained an active lava lake, at times as much as 1,640 feet (500 m) across. The lava lake briefly returned in 1952 and 1967-68. Today, this crater has a smooth, hard, glassy lava bottom with sulfurous fumes continuing to rise from the surface. According to Hawaiian culture, Kilauea is the home of Pele, the volcano goddess; local people still leave offerings to the goddess on the rim of Halema'uma'u. Rising 4,190 feet (1,277 m) above sea level, Kilauea Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, erupting continuously since 1983.