Kilauea has been erupting lava and ash since January 1983 from the east rift zone on the main island of Hawaii and is the most active volcano on earth (HCV). Kilauea is in the shield building stage. Most of Kilauea is located below sea level. It is located over a hotspot in the Pacific plate. The summit of Kilauea is at 4,090 ft. The crater is nine miles in circumference and is one of the largest active craters on earth (New Standard Encyclopedia). Kilauea is on the eastern slope of Mauna Loa, which is much bigger than Kilauea but less active now.
The main island of Hawaii is growing in size every day as the lava flows out into the ocean and forms lava benches. The lava flows through lava tubes that dump out into the ocean at these lava benches. As the lava benches grow they sometimes collapse.
The collapses can be fairly small or half the bench could collapse. If people don't obey the signs that say to stay off the bench and if it collapses while they are out there they will either die or be seriously injured as pieces of hardened lava are shot up and out of the water and go tens of meters inland before hitting the ground along with scalding hot steam. The benches can collapse at any point in time (USGS 2).
This eruption has added a lot to the island but also has destroyed a lot. There has been a total of 102 sq. km. of land covered by the lava; 560 acres of new land have been added to the island, destroyed approx. 190 buildings including a 700 year old Hawaiian temple and a visitors center, and caused the highway to be closed because it covered 13km of...