By: Aambar Agarwal
On Thursday, May 3, the Kilauea Volcano erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island, causing the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, to declare a state emergency and authorities to evacuate the state’s largest park. While one person has been injured, nearly everyone has been evacuated from the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions located in the district of Puna without any incidents. Since then, approximately 2,250 earthquakes have struck on or around Big Island.
Kilauea is the youngest of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii and is the world’s most active volcano. It has been in a state of near-constant eruption since 1983. The Hawaiian name Kilauea means “spewing” or “much spreading”, which is appropriate considering that it is quite a destructive volcano. This weekend alone, the Kilauea Volcano has erupted at least twice, launching harmful ash clouds as high as 10,000 feet. The explosions from the volcano have been registered as the equivalent of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake, and this volcano has caused nearly two dozen fissures to crack the Earth’s surface open, purging fountains of lava and sulfur dioxide. So far, toxic sulfur dioxide emissions have tripled in the past weeks, not to mention that lava has reached the Pacific Ocean, which is another problem in itself. When hot lava hits the ocean, laze is created, sending hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air and causing lung, eye, and skin irritation. Currently, two lava flows have been entering the ocean, and authorities have strongly advised steering clear of those dangerous areas.
At least 40 structures have been destroyed by the lava, including about two dozen homes, and there is no indication of these deadly eruptions stopping. “That’s the Earth farting, man,” said Rufus Daigle, a wise 69-year-old poet who sells a variety of items at a roadside stand in Leilani. “All I know is, that volcano is demanding some respect.”