Hawaii Volcano Eruptions Update
The news that comes out of the Big Island each day is making major headlines around the world, and for good reason. It is not everyday that an active volcano erupts and causes as much devastation as Mt. Kilauea has caused in recent weeks. And as captivating as the news is, it is so important to remember that many local families have forever lost their homes, having their lives turned upside down because of the active lava flow that has overtaken residential communities throughout the area surrounding the volcano.
In the early morning hours of May 3rd, Kilauea opened up in new areas, with rifts breaking the earth right in the middle of Leilani Estates, and surrounding zones. The volcanic activity that is taking place is incredible, and is showing that Kilauea is showing no signs of slowing down. Scientists are predicting further eruptions, and all signs are pointing to even more devastation from the most active volcano in the world.
The history of Kilauea is long, with the official start date of the current eruption cycle beginning in January of 1983. Many different rifts have opened up over the years and with each eruption, we learn more and more about volcanoes and their power, showing just how the Hawaiian Islands were created and reminding us that they are quite unpredictable.
Because of the eruptions and the unpredictability of the volcano, access to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is quite limited, and in many places, closed off completely. One of the most compelling locations in Hawaii, the park is a naturally made museum of the history of Kilauea and an incredible look at the years of volcanic activity. The national park serves as a place to explore extinct lava flows, walk through lava tubes, and view the crater of Kilauea – Halema’uma’u Crater. It also serves as a place for scientists to study the earth, providing a living specimen for study, helping to better understand the planet.
Though there are many reasons to hope that the national park will be able to reopen entirely very soon, the most important reason is so that residents that call the eruption area on the Big Island home can return. There have been many homes and buildings overtaken by the lava flows, including areas that are covered by up to 20 feet of lava, spanning large areas that cover many acres. If you have been lucky enough to visit the volcano in recent years, this current eruption cycle is just another chapter in the history of Kilauea, adding new land to the island and reshaping its coastline. One day, we will be able to visit this new land and will have a new area to explore, but for the time being, it is important to respect the volcano and exercise extreme caution when visiting the Big Island.
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