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Kilauea— An explosive volcano in Hawai‘i

July 25, 2011

Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i, though best known for its frequent quiet eruptions of lava flows, has erupted explosively many times in its history - most recently in 2011. At least six such eruptions in the past 1,500 years sent ash into the jet stream, at the cruising altitudes for today's aircraft. The eruption of 1790 remains the most lethal eruption known from a U.S. volcano. However, the tendency of Kīlauea's 2 million annual visitors is to forget this dangerous potential. Cooperative research by scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey, Smithsonian Institution, and University of Hawai‘i is improving our understanding of Kīlauea's explosive past and its potential for future violent eruptions.

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