‘The goddess of volcanoes is showing herself’

Our pilot Casey Allen flew us close to the lava pouring into the sea.

He was careful to stay upwind of a huge plume of toxic steam, or lava haze.

Kilauea volcano erupts in Hawaii


Video:‘Terrifying’ Kilauea isn’t finished yet

The haze is produced when molten lava reacts with sea water to make hydrochloric acid and tiny shards of glass.

‘The goddess of volcanoes is showing herself’
‘The goddess of volcanoes is showing herself’

Despite this, it was a breathtaking, primal scene.

Lava oozed through the bright green rain forest into the ocean, fissures fountaining molten rock in the distance, ash clouds hanging on the hazy skyline.

Kilauea continues to erupt creating three lava fissures at Lanipuna Gardens on Hawaii's Big Island
Image:Three lava fissures at Lanipuna Gardens on Hawaii’s Big Island

Mr Allen said: “When you live on an active volcano, this happens.

“Yes it’s disconcerting, for sure.”

From high up you really get a sense of the scale of these vast lava flows. They’ve simply carved through the land, some of them merging, some of them moving at 300m per hour.

The lava flows are beautiful, but deadly
Image:The lava flows are beautiful, but deadly

On the ground, this volatility is creating new problems by the hour. Lava is advancing on a geothermal power plant next to the evacuated area of Leilani Estates.

Efforts have been made to use cold water to reduce the risk of lava mixing with the chemicals inside it, but there is concern that soon there might be another dangerous gas to contend with, and possibly more evacuations.

At a pop up community centre next to a national guard road block, locals gather to exchange information, pick up supplies and get a hot meal.


Video:Hawaii residents warned over toxic fumes

Volunteer and local resident Lililoe Kahalepauole said there were so many “mixed emotions” in the community.

Yes it is scary, she said, but also magical, because “Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, is showing herself.

“Flowing lava is a beautiful sight. It’s beautiful.”

Ikaiku Marzo helped organise the centre. He’s been tracking fissures and new activity since it began.

Hannah Thomas-Peter


Video:Sky correspondent visits ‘eerie’ volcano area

He said it was sad to watch people lose their homes and have to leave their pets behind in the rush to get out.

But he emphasised the strength of the spirit of this place.

He said: “The people of Puna are strong. We will rebuild. We will not leave.”

Before anyone can rebuild, the disruptive volcanic activity has to end. But the earthquakes, eruptions and lava flows continue.

It seems Kīlauea isn’t finished yet.

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