The present Kilauea volcano eruption holds the world’s record for continuously erupting for over 35 years since 1983 with oozing lava, towering fountains and is still going strong. Over the decades it has encroached upon many small towns and destroyed them partly or completely including Kalapana, a coastal town not far from where it is active at present in the Puna District of the east rift zone.
An apocalyptic lava eruption from the so-called Fissure # 8 of the recent Kilauea Volcano eruption is shown in the painting above. The present lava flow was reported to be over a mile wide in some places has already traveled 9 miles downslope to the ocean. In some places it rages like a huge river of molten fire cascading down a channel within the raised perch downslope to the ocean.
In late April, the summit crater of Kilauea Volcano and its offshoot vent Pu’u O’o began to rise and subside that alerted scientists of an impending major eruption. In the past 2 months, there have been over 12,000 earthquakes recorded from the summit area. Except for 4 days this month of June, there have been earthquakes daily with the largest registering over 5.0 magnitude. The one that set off the current ongoing eruption was a 6.9 on May 4, 2018 in the summit area. There are already 24 distinct and active fissures categorized, at least three still active which includes #8.
Pressure building up underground with moving, molten lava broke through the 24 fissures along a linear path toward the ocean, spitting ugly black, huge piles of lava along 10 square miles. And of these, Fissure #8 has risen up and has become the most active and volatile of the 24, with significant amounts of hot, molten lava, gushing out of the ground! There has been no let up in the ferocious lava flow from this vent, now a huge spatter cone which grew like Pu’u O’o below, bursting with ash plumes and toxic gases, and spewing huge chunks of molten magma, and sulfuric gases and acid into the atmosphere and ocean, making it increasingly difficult to breathe in the Puna area, and this has been going on for over 6 weeks with no let up in sight.
This present volcanic activity is the most historic in its output of magma lava that has innundated several communities, destroyed over 600 homes, and displaced over 2000 people who are now homeless. Agricultural farmland of papaya and other fruits, and orchid flowers have been totally devastated, along with the once beautiful ocean front resorts. The big black, ugly molten lava has also filled up Kapoho Bay, reconfiguring the land map of the Big Island of Hawaii forever. Even the shape and form of Kilauea’s summit crater, Halema’uma’u and its lava lake have increased tremendously in width and depth, as well as the main vent, Pu’u O’o which is feeding the flow to the ocean.
This is my painting of Pu’u O’o eruption of 1983. The painting below it is the ash plume in the distance of Pu’u O’o just before it began its rampage through the Leilani Estates and surrounding communities in the Puna District of Kilauea’s east rift zone.
The Pu’u O’o vent was once a fissure of Kilauea volcano, then became a spatter cone that grew to immense proportions since 1983 and now is the powerful engine for the May 2018 eruption. Coincidentally, Mauna Loa’s last eruption was in 1984 and then Kilauea Volcano has taken center stage and is the only volcano erupting at this time on the island.
The coastal town of Kalapana with its once famous Kalapana Black Sand Beach was destroyed in 1990, along with the historic fishing village. Drgold and I visited the beautiful beach in the late 80’s. Now it is gone and all that is left are acres of lava.
Here is my painting of the once beautiful pristine Black Sand Beach of Kalapana!
As a retired teacher who taught Hawaiian culture and geography in the schools, I have followed the daily developments of the present volcano eruption with great interest, awe, and dismay. Tourism, in particular visits to the Hawaii Volcano National Park, was once a huge draw for the island’s economy. Despite the park’s temporary closure for public safety and repairs, there is still a great deal to be enjoyed on the Big Island,
In conclusion, consider these facts that of the island’s total 4,000 sq. mi., only about 10 sq. mi. have been overrun by the present lava flows; this amounts to 1/4 of 1% or .25 of the Big Island. The park area which includes the massive Mauna Loa and Kilauea Volcanoes is nearly the size of my island of O’ahu, where the state capital of Honolulu is located, 520 sq. mi. of park area vs our 598 sq. mi. This is my spiel to let you know that we need the cruise ship passengers and air travelers to visit Hawaii State and the Hawaii Island! Please spread the word!
Thank you and God bless the people on the Big Island!
Related post: May 6, 2018 ‘The Beginning of Sorrows’ https://heulu.wordpress.com