It’s that time of year in our sunny state—time to make an escape to cooler climates and sandy beaches! One popular destination for some families is the beautiful state of Hawaii. Unfortunately, Hawaii is a little less appealing right now for both tourists and residents of the Big Island.
Last month, the Kilauea volcano started erupting on Hawaii’s Big Island. Since then, approximately 2,500 residents on the island have had to evacuate due to the lava that’s consuming everything in its path.
Lava has even been shooting several hundred feet into the air and at one point flowed on land so quickly that it covered almost a half-mile in 80 minutes! The lava has damaged more than 400 power poles, numerous cell phone towers, and at least 75 structures.
Lava is not the only threat that the Kilauea volcano is leveling at the Big Island’s residents and visitors. Since the volcano first erupted on May 3, more than 2,000 earthquakes have hit the area.
Also, ash is still erupting from the volcano’s summit. At one point in May when the volcano erupted, Kilauea launched a cloud of ash up to 10,000 feet in the air!
The air presents several challenges as well. “Vog,” or volcanic smog, is a gas mixture that includes sulfur dioxide and other pollutants mixed with moisture and dust—definitely not something you want to be breathing in! Another bi-product of the volcano is “laze,” the term for lava and haze, which forms when the hot lava mixes with ocean water. Laze sends nasty particles into the air and has proved deadly in past volcanic eruptions. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanos on Earth.
In Guatemala, Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) had a very violent eruption on June 3, killing at least 69 people and forcing the evacuation of thousands.