Kilauea: The world’s most active volcano opens up a new lava path

Wikipedia As it’s been erupting continuously for the last 25 years and is the world’s most active volcano, it’s no real surprise that the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea has now started spewing out even more lava. Destroying three abandoned homes in the process, the lava has recently started following a new path along Hawaii’s Big Island, although scientists say there’s nothing to worry about. (Click here for a video)

In fact, although Kilauea has erupted 34 times since 1954, as well as the current 25-year-old eruption, it is not really a dangerous volcano at all.

Instead of building up huge reserves of magma and then letting it all go suddenly, like Italy’s Mount Vesuvius for example, Kilauea just lets a gentle stream of lava flow pretty much continuously. It is so slow in most places that you could outpace it simply by walking, meaning it poses very little danger.

Wikipedia However, it does sometimes have impressive jets of lava (up to 1000 feet tall) that earned it the nickname the ‘drive-by volcano’, because you could ride by and be amazed by the fountains.

The latest twist in Kilauea’s lava path doesn’t really pose any danger – residents had plenty of warning that their homes would soon be destroyed, giving them enough time to set up a home in a safer location.

I’ve not been lucky enough to go to Kilauea – yet. Leave a comment if you’ve been!

 UPDATE: Kilauea has now started exploding for the first time in 84 years, and more new lava is erupting. Click here for the exciting details.

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8 Responses

  1. I’ve been there! My uncle was in the Ironman a few years back, and we were invited to come and cheer him on… It’s a full-day trip to drive down to Kilauea (Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park) from Kailua Kona where we were staying, but it’s worth it to stay until dark so you can see the lava flow glowing in the dark.

    There’s currently a visitor’s centre and tea shop at the edge of the big caldera in the photo (at least, I presume it’s still there). It’s a huge site, with lots of old lava flow and tunnels to explore, and of course, gorgeous flora and fauna. Access to the active lava stream is blocked off and exploring beyond the fences can be quite dangerous, especially near the ocean where the ground can be undermined by lava streaming below, but you don’t have to get too close to see (and smell) the columns of steam where the lava flows into the sea. There were no dramatic fountains when I was there, but it’s still quite a spectacular environment.

  2. Wow! That’s made me even more determined to get to see Kilauea – it sounds like a really fascinating and interesting place.

    Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Kilauea, Gillian – I really appreciate it. 🙂

  3. i had a major gay pride rally by Kilauea the scenery is amazing. And the lava flow out of this world. Its an exciting place Richard trust me.

  4. This is good for my reasearch for my scence fair so thanks for writing

  5. You’re welcome! 🙂

  6. I was there two weeks ago. Not only did the sight excite me it also caused me not to be able to breathe. It scared me so bad I couldn’t wait to be back on the tour bus and away from there. On the way down to Kona the driver of our bus experienced poor visability. The fog was so thick you couldn’t see the lava on the side of the rode.

  7. Cool photo!!!! =+)

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    Great article! Subscribed to RSS, I will watch =)

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