March 20, 2008
Kilauea volcano is showing some very interesting activity this week! Apparently a gas build-up caused some significant explosions, resulting in rocks and gravel raining down on a portion of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park normally open to visitors. As of now some trails in the park and parts of the Chain of Craters Road are closed due to elevated levels of volcanic gases, and I suppose also risk of further explosions.
The volcano has been slowly erupting lava for decades, providing one of the most awesome spectacles on the Big Island–or anywhere. The recent explosions weren’t in the fissures on the side of the volcano that have been producing the lava, but rather from one of the big craters near the summit. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that these were the first explosions in Halema`uma`u crater since 1924 and the first eruption of any kind in Kilauea caldera since September 1982.
Lava also continues to flow and enter the ocean outside the park, and the area is open for viewing. The conditions change frequently so check with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for more information. A trip to the Big Island really isn’t complete without a visit to the volcano, and a chance to see fiery lava flowing into the ocean is not to be missed!