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Crater, eastern side of Mauna Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, U.S. The world's largest active volcanic crater, it is about 3 mi (5 km) long, 2 mi (3.2 km) wide, and 500 ft (150 m) deep, lying at an altitude of 4,090 ft (1,250 m). In its floor is the vent known as Halemaumau Pit, legendary home of the fire goddess Pele. Its frequent eruptions are usually contained within the vent as a boiling lake of lava, but occasionally the lava escapes; since 1983 a series of eruptions produced lava that reached the sea 30 mi (48 km) away.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kilauea, visit Britannica.com.