Kilauea Volcano Activity
April 2008

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After a long period of relative quiet, Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has suddenly become very active. In March of 2008 lava flowing from the Pu'u 'O'O vent about five miles southeast of the main crater headed downhill and overran the rest of Royal Gardens Subdivision before reaching the sea. Then in April, for the first time in a great many years, Halemaumau Crater, a large crater inside the much larger Kilauea Crater suddenly began spurting a huge cloud of gas containing high concentrations of sulfur dioxide, and even produced a small explosion that sent rocks and boulders smashing through the visitor overlook to the south. Most recently (April 8-9th) the northeast trade winds were replace by southwest winds that blew "vog" (volcanic smog) over residential areas, including Hilo. The danger was great enough two thousand people in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park were evacuated and the Park itself was closed, and evacuations were strongly recommended for all the residential areas closest to the volcano, including the village of Volcano where Gloria and I live.

However, Pele was kind to us and we never had to evacuate because our particular area stayed clear and on the evening of the 9th a huge thunderstorm cleared most of the vog and the trade winds started up again. As I write this on April 10th, Halemaumau, located two miles from us in a direct line southwest, is still venting, winds are very light, and the air in our neighborhood is clear. At the same time, lava is still pouring into the sea at many points some thirty miles away southeast of us. This is called adventurous living.

Below are some photos I have taken of recent activity.

A view of Halemaumau from the north rim of Kilauea Crater.

Close-up of the same view. We saw the glow of lava in the vent one night.

On a boat heading to see the lava entering the ocean.

Lots of steam and gas clouds as we approach.

We had to wait for winds to reveal the lava from time to time.

This close we could hear the hissing and see small explosions.

Here we could smell the fumes and feel the heat.

Most of the photos were like this because of the boat rocking in the waves.

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Copyright 2008 by Serge King
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