Kīlauea is a volcano in Hawaii that has been active under and on the islands for hundreds of thousands of years. The current eruption is one of the longest ones in recorded history, starting Jan. 3, 1983. As of Sunday, Oct. 26 evacuations have begun, however, due to the volcanic lava’s heavier than normal flow.
The lava flow has had an alarming effect on the Big Island of Hawaii since it began speeding up. As of the evacuation order, it was moving at a rate of about 10 to 15 yards per hour. Officials have created alternate routes for those who need to evacuate in case of a sudden change of direction or other incidentals that could add further danger.
Though the spread of lava has increased since its usual slow rate in the recent week or so, damage has not yet effected any houses. However, the rural area of inhabited land near this heavier flow is suspected to see damage to dozens of homes, several business and other community structures, as well as pasture and farmland.
Previously, this 30-plus year eruption had been funneling almost exclusively towards the sea, avoiding most inhabited areas for the past few decades. Its collection has created roughly 48 square miles of new land since the start of the eruption in 1983. Though the stop was gradual, the change is being monitored for areas of concern.
The eruption’s lava flow from Kilauea has had a devastating impact on local plant and wildlife. Additionally, it has produced acid rain which has created a further barren area in the region. Other surrounding areas of the volcano have benefited from being at a distance from the active lava flow with flourishing wildlife. These areas do so well due to their isolation from other landmasses and minimal human activity.
When the flow of lava isn’t causing concern to locals and officials, the active volcano is an attraction to tourists and park enthusiasts. Viewing sites allow spectators a beautiful scene in order to witness the fiery glow and fumes from the active volcano. The dramatic oranges, yellows, and reds against the blue sky and intense greenery is worth any minimal concerns to those who might feel anxious about the slow moving eruption.