Volcanoes have long been one of the main tourist attractions in Hawaii, and to be truthful, there are few things in the world more astonishing than a volcanic eruption. The earth itself comes apart, and from its deepest depths blast fiery molten rock, acrid gas, and soaring plumes of ash into the sky. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a front-row seat to view the beauty of Earth’s creation?
Kilauea, the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the Island of Hawaii, has actually been erupting for more than 35 years. But the most recent eruptions starting in April 2018 have been making waves across the worldwide media because an eruption of this magnitude only happens once in a lifetime.
After all, molten lava flowing into the sea is a huge part of Hawaii’s tale and is ultimately how the Hawaiian Islands were created. Since 1983, 570 acres of land have been added to Hawaii’s Big Island solely due to continuous lava flow.
Now, an abundance of fresh lava pouring out of Kilauea’s recently opened fissures have produced orange molten rivers that are flowing downslope to the Pacific Ocean. When that lava meets the water, the lava chills into rock and creates plumes of acidic steam. While these lava flows are undoubtedly devastating for homes that are in its path, they will gradually add new land to the Big Island, continuing a long geologic history of natural island building and may change Hawaii as we know it.
This is a process that has been witnessed many times in Hawai’i and an eruption this powerful is incredibly impactful for our island. New lava being added to Hawaii replaces older land that is being lost by erosion, ultimately prolonging the island’s lifespan. So far, Kilauea’s constant lava stream has added 120 acres of new land to Hawaii’s Big Island and is expected to continue. With more land comes new adventure, the possibilities are endless. New incredible sights and activities will become available and will add to the many reasons we already love the pure uniqueness of the Island of Hawai’i. Think new beautiful caves, majestic waterfalls, exhilarating rock climbing opportunities, and thrilling boat tours viewing the entry points where lava pours into the ocean!
Kilauea volcano is sending vibrant and beautiful lava spewing from fissures that is even visible from space. While experts are still trying to determine just how quickly this lava flow is moving, scientists believe it to be pumping out about 100 cubic meters per second which is the equivalent of about 26,000 U.S. gallons per second. Talk about novelty. No words could truly capture the destructive yet beautiful violent strangeness of molten lava- and tourists seem to agree.
Kilauea is Volcanoes National Park’s star attraction brings in nearly 2 million visitors a year. Tourists from all over the world come to see this fascinating geological structure, and with the recent eruptions and breathtaking sights it is sure to give people a once-in-a-lifetime experience they will never forget.
Although Volcanoes National Park is currently closed diverting coach trips and guided hikes elsewhere, helicopter overflights are running full-tilt! Helicopter lava tours are extremely popular and are one of the best ways to experience the surreal complexities of Kilauea. Tourists are able to capture aerial views of sights that are almost unbelievable to the eye and unlike anything else in the world. Once airborne a series of heart pounding, soul lifting, and potentially tear inducing flights can be expected. While the flowing lava doesn’t currently pose a threat, it is important to view it safely and get updates on the latest activity before you go.
As Kilauea volcano continues to huff and puff on The Big Island of Hawaii, our respect and best wishes go out to all who have been impacted.