Kilauea Volcano’s summit eruption in Halemaumau Crater began in March 2008. Since that time, countless changes have occurred. The crater enclosing the lava lake (called the Overlook crater) has enlarged through rockfalls, and explosions have thrown spatter around the crater and onto the rim of Halemaumau itself. The lava-lake level has fluctuated, leading to several overflows of lava onto the Halemaumau Crater floor.
In past Volcano Watches, we’ve emphasized a radically new way to view Kilauea — as an explosive volcano. Though not explosive now, it was dominantly explosive during 60 percent, or 1,500 years, of the past 2,500 years. Its latest major period of explosiveness lasted 300 years between the dawn of the New World and the Napoleonic era, which ended in 1815.