Volcanoes are known to man as beautiful, but highly destructive natural disasters. If anyone has seen a lava explosion or an eruption, they may have found the bright colors and energy to be entrancing. And although dangerous, they are also responsible for creation.
The Hawaiian islands were formed from undersea volcanic activity. With this state being so closely associated with volcanoes, it should come as no shock that there was a recent lava explosion at the Halemaumau Crater located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
On Sunday, a crater wall collapsed, causing a lava to explode from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. The lava explosion has been compared to a hammer hitting the top of a bottle of champagne. Thankfully, the Halemaumau visitor overlook was closed, and has been since 2008, so no one was injured by the chunks of rocks that were sent flying from the lava explosion.
How did the crater wall collapse? Geologist Janet Babb explained that because the rocks overhanging the lava lake were altered by gases, they eventually gave way and fell into the lava. The material from the explosion was reportedly hurled close to 280 feet in the air.
Lava lakes in the Halemaumau Crater have been appearing and disappearing for years. There was a continuous lake present from the early 1800s to about 1924, but since then, the appearance of lakes has been sparse. In fact, the last visible molten lava in the crater was in 1982. Other than that, most of the time, the lake has been too low for people to see anything more than gases rising or an orange glow at night.
In total, there are five active volcanoes in Hawaii: Loihi, Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Haleakala, Hualalai. Kilauea is actually considered one of most active volcanoes in the world. There have been 62 eruptions recorded, the most recent being in January 1983 and has continued to erupt ever since then.
A video has been released of the lava explosion. Those curious can go here to take a look.
What is it like on top of a volcano? Here is a film depicting exactly that. Although not of a lava explosion, it reveals the adventure of trekking up one of earth’s most interesting formations: