Big Island

Kilauea Volcano – A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

Kilauea—perhaps the world’s most active volcano

I received a phone call this morning from France, my homeland, wondering if we were OK? I guess the Big Island made the news all over the world this past weekend due to the recent Kilauea volcanic activity. Kilauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The eruption of Kilauea Volcano that began in 1983 continues at the cinder-and-spatter cone of Pu’u’O’o (high point on skyline). Lava erupting from the cone flows through a tube system down Pulama Pali about 11 km to the sea.

During the past 24 hours, there have been significant changes as Kilauea Volcano continued to erupt at two locations:

  1. On the east rift zone, a fissure eruption that started Saturday afternoon continued intermittently at locations approximately 2 to 3.5 kilometers of Pu’u’O’o.
  2. At the summit, the lava lake level remained deep below the rim of the vent inset within the east wall of Halema’uma’u Crater.

Eighteen earthquakes were strong enough to be located within Kilauea volcano—10 were clustered in the east rift zone near the fissure eruption, 5 were beneath the summit area, and 3 were on south flank faults. Hawaii Volcanoes closed Chain of Craters road and all east rift and coastal trails. The closure helps ensure that hikers and cars don’t get trapped on the “wrong side” of an outbreak.

The Hawaiian name “Kilauea” means “spewing” or “much spreading,” apparently in the reference to the lava flow that it erupts. Kilauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. I guess it was a reminder this past weekend that Pele is still in control of our big rock!

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