The Explosion

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In 1790 Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii burst forth with a tremendous explosion that sent huge amounts of debris flying miles upward and into the surrounding countryside. John Young, a British sailor serving as an advisor to Kamehameha the Great wrote in his journal that he could see the volcanic cloud from where he was living in the northern part of the island, beyond the two massive mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. To give the reader some geographical perspective, the Big Island (called that to distinguish it from the State) is the southernmost, easternmost, and largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It has a large volcano in the north called Mauna Kea, and another large volcano in the southwest called Mauna Loa. Both of these are about 14,000 feet high (about 4000 meters). Kilauea Volcano is southeast of Mauna Loa, nearly directly south of Mauna Kea, and is only about 4000 feet high (1200 meters). However, it is one of the most active volcanoes on earth.

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