As one of Hawaii’s most famous volcanoes, Kilauea is a peaceful mountain, with a breathtaking site, that attracts 2.6 million people every year. When lava pours out from it’s center, it is no longer serene and becomes dangerous to humans. Still those with adventurous spirits will find Kilauea volcano even more fascinating during an eruption as it displays a fiery show of nature.
On May 3, 2018, Kilauea volcano erupted, and it still continues to erupt today. Since the lava discharged, residents from Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens were evacuated. Thus far the volcano has hit the path of 1,700 people from these communities. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the discharge of sulfur dioxide, coming from Kilauea volcano, is hazardous to humans.
Volcanic eruptions can last for prolonged periods of time. The longest eruption of Kilauea volcano began on May 24, 1969 and ended on July 22, 1974. It became the longest eruption of any volcano in recorded history. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that this latest eruption of Kilauea volcano does not last that long.
Ever since 1823, Kilauea volcano had 61 separate eruptions making it one of the most active volcanoes on our planet. Kilauea is just 300,000 to 600,000 years old. Looking at those number, you may think that it is one of the oldest volcanoes in Hawaii, but it is not. No longer active, Kohala is Hawaii’s oldest volcano. It is 900,000 years old. Loihi is Hawaii’s youngest volcano. Kilauea is Hawaii’s second oldest volcano.
Kilauea’s name, defined as “spewing” or “much spreading,” is very appropriate for this very active volcano. In the Hawaiian language, Kilauea alludes to its steady outpouring of lava. Known for it’s emanating eruptions, Kilauea has the lengthiest lava lake since 1983.
Serving as a powerful force of nature, Kilauea is significant in Hawaiian mythology. In Hawaiian folklore, this famous volcano functioned as the body and home of Pete, goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes.
William Ellis, who was an English missionary, was the first non-native to notice Kilauea in 1823. Hiking across Kilauea, he studied this volcano. Ellis’ writings about Kilauea are still useful for researchers today.
Founded by Thomas Jaggar in 1912, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is a place where scientists study volcanoes. This observatory is not open to the public, but you can read about their research online. As the head of geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jaggar studied volcanoes both for the safety of the public and well as for his own passion. The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is a popular spot to learn about volcanoes.
Tourists also come to see Hawaii’s volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, especially the Kilauea volcano. The park is also a place where rich wildlife abounds and is protected. Ever since 1987, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been a World Heritage Site.
Not only can visitors see views of Hawaii’s volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, they can also see wildlife and exotic trees. There are many species of birds at the park. The adorable green bird, amakihi, lives in the surrounding area of the Kauia volcano. The hawksbill sea turtles, an endangered species, have many nesting sites throughout the island of Hawaii.