When a new eruption breaks through at Kilauea volcano, lava tends to pour out of rift zones and small cones, covering the entire surrounding area.
Kilauea is full of cracks and craters, including old pit craters created when the ground collapsed after a buried magma reservoir emptied. When a volcanic eruption breaks through near one of these pit craters, the lava is going to flow to the lowest place it can find. If there’s a pit crater in the way, the lava is going to pour into the pit crater.
This lava waterfall was formed in 1969 during the eruption at Mauna Ulu, the small cone on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone seen in the distance. The lava poured out over the landscape, burning away trees, and then reached the nearby Aloi crater, where it cascaded over the walls and down to the crater floor.