It's easy to guess what damage was caused by the September 1982 lava flow at the summit of Kilauea volcano. The black lava flow erupted to the left of this picture, and destroyed the road around the caldera as the lava flowed into the caldera floor at right. Fortunately, the road has now been rebuilt, so that everybody can enjoy a drive around the Caldera.
In November 1959, a large eruption on the rim of Kilauea Caldera produced giant plumes of hot lava that reached more than 600 meters above the ground. This eruption formed a new cone and the ash from the eruption buried much of the downwind rain forest. This deposit has formed a part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that is called Devastation Trail (seen here), which is being left to recover naturally. The white line on the left side of the ash deposit is a path that tourists can walk along so that they can see the new vegetation.
Another interesting eruption on the rim of Kilauea Caldera took place in June 1974. Here we see the lava flow (the bright material in the center of the picture) produced when a fissure opened on the rim, and lava cascaded down onto the Caldera floor. The road around the Caldera is at top right.
This is a photograph taken from a NASA aircraft in April 1985, as it was performing a remote sensing experiment over Kilauea. It shows the main part of the caldera. Halemaumau Crater is at left, and Volcano House is at far right. The dark patches of lava close to Halemaumau are recent lava flows formed in 1982.
Another view of most of Kilauea Caldera. This one has the caldera at left (Halemaumau is at bottom left), Volcano House at top center, and the 1979 lava flow at bottom right. The ash deposit at Devastation Trail can also be clearly seen at center right.
Volcano House is built at the top of a large series of old slump blocks that are seen here and are now heavily vegetated. This vegetation indicates that this part of the caldera rim has not been affected by eruptions for several hundred years. There's a really nice nature trail that one can take from Volcano House that traverses these slump blocks and takes the hiker onto the caldera floor. Highly recommended!
Another air view of Kilauea Caldera, this time looking towards the southeast, with Volcano House at lower left, and Halemaumau at right center.
Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark