Culturally significant oral tradition involving Pele, the Hawaiian volcano deity, and her youngest sister Hi'iaka may involve the two largest volcanic events to have taken place in Hawai'i since human settlement: the roughly 60-year-long 'Aila??'au eruption during the 15th century and the following development of Ki??lauea's caldera. In 1823, Rev. William Ellis and three others became the first Europeans to visit Ki??lauea's summit and were told stories about Ki??lauea's activity that are consistent with the Pele-Hi'iaka account and extend the oral tradition through the 18th century. Recent geologic studies confirm the essence of the oral traditions and illustrate the potential value of examining other Hawaiian chants and stories for more information about past volcanic activity in Hawai'i.
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Hawaiian oral tradition describes 400??years of volcanic activity at Ki??lauea