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Kilauea Iki Overlook
The Kilauea Iki pit crater, a vent for Kilauea volcano nearly 350-500 years ago, formed close to the summit of the Ai-laau shield. The Ai-laau outbreak was most likely fed by a thin magma chamber some miles underneath the surface. Magma inside this chamber either exploded on the shell or drained down deeper within this volcano. Soon after this eruption was over, the chamber could not remain full any longer and put less force on the nearby rocks. The load of the overlying rocks was more than the upward force in the chamber.Â
The rocks those were above the chamber collapsed soon and filled the outer space within the chamber and caused the shell to collapse and formed Kilauea Iki crater. This collapsed most likely took place 350 years ago. Before this eruption took place in 1959, Kilauea Iki was heavily forested and almost 600 feet (180 m) deep.
The Kilauea Iki eruption is believed to begin on November 14, 1959.
There were nearly 17 episodes of lava fountains during that time. The eruption packed the crater with nearly 390 feet (120 m) of fresh lava and gave birth to Puu Puai cinder cone. Numerous long-time lava observers consider this as the best eruption they could ever see.
The Kilauea Iki overlook is considered to be among the most spectacular sights in the park. Puu Puai cinder cone is another thing to notice which is on the opposite rim of the crater.