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Hawaii Volcanoes N.P. - Caldera and Crater

A cache by Yosemite John and Debbie Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 09/19/2005
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this scenic overlook provides excellent views of the Kilauea Caldera and Halema'uma'u Crater.

To qualify to log a find on this earthcache you must:

Email us the answer to THREE of the following five questions. You can find the answers on the informational signs posted at various points along the overlook. Submit your email through our profile on the geocaching website (at the same time you log your find) and provide the letters of the two questions you are answering along with your answer. Do NOT post answers in your log.

a) How is a caldera formed?
b) How many square miles does Kilauea cover?
c) How long is the fissure known as the “Great Crack”?
d) On a typical day, Kilauea’s vents emit several hundred tons of what type of gas?
e) What is the duration of the eruption that occurred in 1967 (in days) and how is it described?

Qualifying email must be sent the same day you log the find (no need to wait for approval after sending the email). Logs that do not meet the email requirement will be deleted without notice.

If caching in a group it is recommended that each cacher meet the email requirement individually or that everyone logs their find at the same time.

Phone app users: If you have access to log your find you have access to send the email the same day as well.

In 2011 earthcache guidelines changed to make photos optional. Visitors electing to post a photo will be afforded the opportunity to discover our Hawaii Volcanoes National Park geocoin.

Now you can earn pins through the Earthcache Masters Pin Program. Enjoy!

EarthCache Masters Pin Program This earthcache is meant to complement two other earthcaches located within the Park (GCQV5H and GCQV5E), all as approved by the National Park Service and the Geological Society of America in conjuntion with www.geocachingcom. Note: as with most National Parks, there is an entrance fee to the Park. This Caldera & Crater earthcache with its desolate landscape provides a stark contrast to the verdant rain forest earthcache on the other side of the Park and is an excellent example of an active volcanic site.

Stretching before you lies the vast Kilauea Caldera and the Halema’uma’u Crater found within the caldera. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on earth. Over 90% of the surface of Kilauea is lava that is less than 1,000 years old. Indeed, the caldera has changed dramatically in the last 150 or so years providing evidence of its continued activity and evolution. Kilauea is also the youngest of the volcanoes on the Island of Hawaii (not including Loihi) and lies at the southeast end of the Hawaiian Island chain. Much of the volcano is below sea level. The Kilauea caldera was formed in 1790 AD and contains a pit crater. The pit crater is named Halema’uma’u Crater. Halema’uma’u Crater is believed to be the home of Pele, the goddess of fire. Before the 1900’s there was a spectacular boiling lake of lava inside of the crater. A hard lava ring contained the molten lava but it would frequently rise and reach the rim, even overflowing Halema’uma’u’s edges spilling into the caldera. Additionally, there are two rift zones that extend to the east and southwest. One fissure intersects the Crater Rim Drive just a few minutes drive south of this location.

Scientists on location at this site monitor the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes in particular, but their sensitive seismic equipment can also pick up earthquakes occurring beneath other potentially active volcanoes on Hawaii or nearby Maui. Seismometers, tiltmeters and other equipment all indicate that volcanic activity continues to occur in the area between eruptions. The number of earthquakes orginating in the Hawaiian Islands can be approximated at about 1,500 per year with an average of 30 per week (HVNP, 2008). However, the possibility of the seismic stations recording global seismicity can be over 100,000 because it is estimated that there are at least 500,000 detectable earthquakes each year (USGS, 2008). The many earthquakes are recorded by the various seismic stations and radioed in to the observatory at this site. Tiltmeters and GPS receivers indicate that the summit regions of Kilauea and Mauna Loa slowly inflate with magma for months to years before internal pressures reach the breaking point causing larger events. Additionally, the gases leaking out of Halema'uma'u and from other vents around the summit and rift zones of Kilauea are also studied as they provide important clues as to what may be going on beneath the surface. Changes in gas volume, temperature, and composition are all important indicators used in determining underground volcanic activity.

If you are at the waypoint of this cache, you are standing on the Uwekahuna Bluff, the highest point of Kilauea’s summit and the location of the USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. The hours for the Jaggar Museum are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The bookstore located in the Jaggar Museum closes at 4:45 p.m. (HVNP, 2007)

Crater Panorama
Crater Overlook Halema’uma’u Crater Vents Fissure Uwekahuna Bluff Seismographs
Click on images to enlarge.

For more information:

For advanced scientific information on geology, please visit the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) website at

For specific information on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, please visit their website at

For additional information on Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, please visit their website at

For more information on volcanic activity go to the Volcanoes Directory at

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