The Big Island of Hawai’i is a volcanic island.

It has been for, well, since forever! It hasn’t stopped being volcanic since the time of it’s birth. Everyone who lives here knows that, and is used to the steady presence of Kilauea, the active volcano, home of the goddess Pele.

I’ve never been much of a volcanic expert – I mean, please don’t think you are going to get anything really educational out of this post! But growing up in Hilo, I was pretty used to talking about what the volcano was up to, or the level of “vog” on a given day.

Kilauea, you see, is a shield type of volcano, as opposed to composite or cinder cone It doesn’t blow up like Mt. St. Helens did and it’s not remotely like the super volcano in Java. It blows it’s lava and steam through vents, slowly and pretty much constantly, kind of like a super bitchy person, always annoyed and blowing off heat.

Back when I was a teenager, the lava was flowing to Kalapana.

(Kalapana was the beach that I wrote about here, that was a pivotal place in my life.)

Kalapana was slowly and steadily wiped out by the lava flows that inched over everything. There was time to move some beloved buildings (like the Painted Church) but usually the flows go slowly, inexorably towards the ocean where they create new land.

That’s Kilauea. I live in Hilo.

Hilo is a rainy big little town about 40 minutes north of Kilauea proper. Or something like that! It’s not in Volcanic Zones 1 or 2.

Take a look at this map, which shoes you where it’s going on right now, in relation to where I am:

The great thing is, we are some distance to Kilauea, yeah?! The not-so-great thing is that we are on an island, so that “great distance” stuff is all relative. We’re really pretty close.

The also not-so-great thing is that again, it’s an island. We are all affected by everything and we certainly always know someone who lives out in Leilani Estates, where the flows are currently happening. I know I do, and my heart really aches for them.

This is what is happening NOW:

(in case the slideshow doesn’t embed, it’s linked here).

It’s a great article and if you are interested or know more people out here, Hawaii News Now is the one to follow. It has the most up-to-date pieces.

As it says, there are now 6 vents – where steam (which is sulphur dioxide and deadly) and lava are coming out (check out that photo in the slideshow of the lava moving down the street…).

It’s scary and yes, it’s personal. We know people who live there and I’m praying for them. They had to evacuate last night and I can only imagine how terrifying that must be.

Prayers, and aloha.

Us, though, my little family of 4 – we are safe.

After the second big earthquake today – which was a 6.9 – the schools were shut and pretty much all of Hilo closed up. The kids were thrilled in that excited way that kids can be with some disaster (I remember Dana and I always being totally psyched with big hurricanes in Fiji).

We are fine. I have Micah on hand, who as a naturally cautious person who loves rules, has all set up. He took that chart that he got from the library on “What to Do in an Emergency” and went to town with his prepping and planning.

All good. I hope. And pray.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.


Nomadic photo-junkie, cat-lover, peasant-handed mom of 3. Life is never dull.

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