Mount Kilauea Celebrates 28 Years of Eruption

Imagine living in an area where a volcano has been erupting for 28 years! Thats the Big Island for you, and Mt. Kilauea just had its birthday.
Its east rift zone started erupting January 3rd 1983, and is still active today. Its presence is still strong having devastating two homes just last year in Kalapana Gardens. In 1990, Mt. Kilauea did its worst damage by destroying 104 homes in the same area. Mt. Kilauea is made up of a series of active vents and various lava streams that flow all the way to the ocean. Some of the streams are underground in lava tubes, and can only be seen where it meets the ocean. The initial eruption in 1983 was at the Pu’u'o’o vent, sending lava over 200ft in the air. In 1986, the Kupaianaha vent made lava tubes flowing to the ocean and destroyed 14 homes in Royal Gardens starting the destruction of Kalapana. In 1990 Mt. Kilauea did its worst damaged to the town by literally burying churches, homes and stores in the ancient Hawaiian village. Kalapana was once known for it’s magnificent black sand beaches and treasured historical sites, most of which has now been consumed by lava. Still living without electricity and water, some residents steadfastly believe they were spared by Pele, the god of fire, while others believe it was just plain luck. Either way the devastation continues as just last year two more homes were destroyed. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Mt. Kilauea will remain active in perpetuity. That makes Big Island one of the most unique places in the world. It’s land mass is literally still growing, and has one of the longest lasting active volcanoes in the world. This January also marks the 2nd annual “Volcano Awareness Month” on the Big Island. Hiking, group discussions, teacher workshops, and various other programs will be conducted all month to better understand and respect volcanoes. A great way to get involved is to see for yourself! Discover Hawaii Tours offers an exciting Big Island Volcano tour from any island which highlights includes the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Thurston Lava Tube, and Kalapana Lava Flows. Stopping at the Kilauea Iki Crater overlook in the volcanoes nation park I felt the coldest ever felt in Hawaii at such high altitudes. Baring the weather conditions was worth it to witness a massive dried up lake of lava and pictures of when it was still hot in 1960. To see Mt. Kilauea in action, check out the Kalapana Lava Flow where the lava meets the ocean.

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