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Hawaii’s still very active Kilauea volcano sends lava flow into Kalapana

Current Kilauea lava flow covers portion of Highway 130 in Kalapana this week. Photo: USGS

HAWAII Magazine reader Beth Kowalski e-mailed us with a question about our lack of coverage of Kilauea Volcano activity in recent months:

Has activity at Kilauea volcano not been newsworthy lately? Your website used to write often in 2008 and 2009 about lava activity at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But the last story I found about it at HawaiiMagazine.com was last October. I can read about Kilauea’s eruptions at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s website. But I liked how your website broke down the scientific news about the eruption into easy-to-understand articles and language. I know the volcano is still active, so what’s up?

Funny you should write us this week, Beth.

After several months of quiet, business-as-usual activity at the Big Island volcano, lava flows from Kilauea’s east rift zone Puu Oo vent this week came within a 100 or so yards of several homes in the Kalapana area for the first time since 1992. Parts of the flow also covered sections of Highway 130 and 137, which once led to coastal viewing sites for Puu Oo lava entering the ocean.

Kalapana, you may remember, was the small Puna district town virtually destroyed by lava flows from Kilauea volcano between April 1990 and February 1991. Over 10 months, the devastating flows slowly moved through the heart of the town, taking with it homes, longtime businesses and invaluable archaeological sites. Gone forever when the flow finally came to a stop were the natural fresh water spring and swimming hole Queen’s Bath, Kaimu Bay and Black Sand Beach and much of the area's picturesque coastline.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s website this morning, the current lava flow affecting Kalapana was still advancing, albeit very slowly, over Highway 137, but had not yet destroyed any homes.

Lava flow burns through forest and fencing near Kalapana this week. Photo: USGS

Eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano is always newsworthy to us, Beth. And, like you, we check in with HVO’s website regularly to keep up with news about Kilauea volcano’s lava activity. The HVO staff is diligent about updating their website daily, often with video and great photos (like the ones published here). We always enjoy checking in.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Visitors to get closer look at Kilauea volcano lava flow
Kilauea volcano lava flow destroys Kalapana home, reaches the ocean
Volcano Awareness Month continues as Kilauea lava nears another Kalapana home

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