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Volcanic Activity in Hawaii

If you’ve been watching the news recently, you may have seen the reports of new volcanic activity on the Big Island. Hundreds of earthquakes off the east coast of the island caused new activity at Kilauea, and opened up a long crack in the earth, which happened to be right in the middle of a subdivision in the town of Volcano. Though this is a somewhat common occurrence on the island, this is still quite terrifying and very real for residents that are set to have their entire life turned upside down.

The crack in the rift zone allowed lava to spill onto the surface of the earth, taking down trees and starting fires within the community of about 1,700 residents. The summit of the volcano, the Pu’u O’o vent, released a huge plume of ash and smoke, as well as dangerous amounts of sulfur dioxide, creating additional hazards for those in the area. As dangerous as lava is, the sulfur dioxide can cause breathing difficulties, and with large amounts in the air, the risk is very high.

Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, and over the years, many communities have been destroyed, and a thousands of homes taken over by lava. A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park allows visitors to see the destruction that has occurred, consuming roads throughout the park, and leaving only remnants for viewing. On most days, the volcanic activity is minimal and poses no threat to communities, residents, or visitors, but when events like the most recent eruption occur, we are reminded that the volcano is very dangerous and capable of great destruction. This is evident by the spouting lava that was seen from the homes near the eruption zone and the numerous fires that have been burning due to the eruption. The volcano is expected to continue the new eruption and the area has been evacuated.

With the most recent eruption and the high concentration of sulfur dioxide that is in the air, a portion of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed, and will remain closed for the time being. Until the safety of visitors to the park can be guaranteed, precaution must be taken and the volcano must be respected.

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