August 4th 2016
Kilauea is the most active, most “approachable” volcano in the world. The current eruption began in January of 1983 and has been pumping out lava almost without interruption for 33+ years! The focus of this eruption has not been the “summit” area of Kilauea Caldera (the main area just inside the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park); this activity has centered around a vent named Pu’u O’o which is located in a remote area near the park’s eastern boundary.
Lava flows from Pu’u O’o have mostly flowed to the south, down the slopes of Kilauea, across the coastal flat, and eventually flowing into the ocean where new land is created. These flows have destroyed most of the town of Kalapana and every single house in the Royal Gardens subdivision. The field of post-1983 lava flows is about 10 miles wide with about half of the flows inside the park and half on private property east of the park. These flows wiped the “Chain of Craters Road” off the map, a coastal route that once connected the sea-level area of Volcanoes National Park with the town of Kalapana. This road was buried under lava 150 feet deep in places!