Tom’s Tips – Big Island Live Volcano

Jan 17, 2019 | Activity Information

The live volcanoes of the Big Island are continuously in flux. The magma under and near the earth’s surface is always pulsing and flowing but the degrees of visibility at the surface are more apparent at some times than others. This has been true over the course of eons. Since 1983 there has almost always been red lava that could be viewed from inside one of the vents or calderas at Kileaua or be viewed in the surface lava flows that carried the rivers of lava down to the ocean. During some months this activity was more active and the dramatic entry of the lava into the ocean causing plumbs of gas to rise hundreds of feet into the air was also an ebb and flow. When May 3rd of 2018 came around, a much more visible eruption entailed with an extreme impact on the Puna area of the Big Island in which many structures were lost, beaches were covered with lava and additional acreage was added to the Big Island along the coast. Since the last part of 2018 this recent eruption cycle has ended and although it is still a live volcano, we are awaiting the inevitable next phase. In the mean time the recent lava layers cover the countryside like a blanket and from the air you can easily tell the distinct coloration of this most recent flow. This may be the most continuous eruption location on the planet and with every visit to this area, either from the air or on the ground, you will be able to witness the special creation that has brought all these Hawaiian Islands to the surface from deep beneath the sea.