Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world (it is above the Hawaiian hotspot) and there are almost continual eruptions with lava flows to the Pacific Ocean. About 90% of the surface of Kilauea is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years.
The volcano has a 165 metre deep circular caldera at its summit that measures 3x5km (or 6x6 km, including the outermost ring faults). Eruptions at Kilauea originate primarily from the summit caldera or along one of the lengthy East and South-West rift zones that extend from the caldera to the sea.
The latest Kilauea eruption began in January 1983 along the East rift zone. This long-term ongoing eruption from Pu`u `O`o-Kupaianaha has produced lava flows that have traveled 11-12 km from the vents to the sea, covering over about 104 km2 of land on the Southern flank of Kilauea and building 207 hectares of new land.
Kilauea is said to be the home of Pele, the volcano goddess of ancient Hawaiian legends.