Photo Courtesy of Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters
The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on Big Island, Hawaii, collapsed on April 30, causing heavy flows of lava to head toward Southern Island communities. Three days later, lava erupted from the ground outside the Leilani Estates on Big Island. The Leilani Estates were immediately evacuated by the Hawaii County Civil Defense team, stated nps.gov.
When interviewed, many of the Hawaiian locals mentioned Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, creator and destroyer of Earth.
“The way I kind of look at it is, the land doesn’t really belong to us. It belongs to Pele,” stated Jordan Sonner, a Big Island Realtor who had evacuated her home near the Leilani Estates. “We get to live on it while we can, and if she wants it back, she’ll take it. I have good insurance,” added Sonner, according to washingtonpost.com.
More eruptions continue to happen throughout Southeast Big Island. Researchers believe these are due to the 300+ small earthquakes that previously happened that month, and Hawaii is warning residents there is a high chance that the Kilauea Volcano may explode, according to hawaiinewsnow.com.
Authorities have reported that 15,688 acres of the 333,308 acres of the Hawaii Volcano National Park was closed due to the dangerous warnings of eruptions and earthquakes, on May 2, 2018.
A 5.4 magnitude earthquake rumbled throughout Big Island, Hawaii, on May 3, 2018, at around 11:00 pm, followed by a 6.9 earthquake an hour later on May 4, 2018. These earthquakes caused many lava rocks to crumble and fall into the volcano mouth, breaking the surface. Many earthquakes and aftershocks continued to rock the island throughout the rest of the day, as well as days after, according to nps.gov.
The park was reopened on May 6, 2018, but many earthquakes struck, causing the closure once more. On May 7, 2018, the park reopened, but rangers warn visitors to be expecting sudden closures and unexpected calls.
Many Hawaiian locals say the earthquakes and volcanic activity is due to Pele, who was back to reclaim her land.
With no new volcanic activity on May 8, 2018, Hawaii County Mayor announced, “Pele has given us the grace of quiet for today, but we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.”
“This is not over… there’s still magma within the rift zone. In the foreseeable future, this eruption is likely to continue,” stated Janet Babb, a USGS geologist, to hawaiinewsnow.com.
The lava has currently taken overtaken 40 homes on the Big Island. Officials warn the locals to evacuate, or be ready to evacuate in case of more lava ground eruptions or toxic sulfur dioxide volcanic smoke, stated hawaiinewsnow.com.