Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020 |

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KELSEY WALLING / Tribune-Herald
A bystander watches a cloud from Halema’uma’u crater as Kilauea volcano erupts in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Monday

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – After Kyle Nolan experienced the biggest earthquake of his life, he knew something dramatic was happening

The US. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a magnitude of 44 earthquakes beneath Kilauea’s south flank around 2236 o’clock on Sunday, about an hour after the outbreak began

This experience was a first for Nolan, who has lived in the volcano for a year after moving from Maui to the Big Island

“I couldn’t see any lava before, so that’s very exciting,” said Nolan on Monday as he looked at a cloud from Halema’uma’u crater. “(Sunday) night I felt and knew the heaviest earthquake just that something was going to go under ”

Hundreds of people visited the park all day Monday to see the huge cloud after two years of inactivity

“We came here (Sunday) and it definitely didn’t look like it,” said Carl Smith, who is visiting Hawaii from the mainland, on Monday. “We are very happy that our trip coincided with this outbreak”

Harvey Scott has been a volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since 1971 and looked forward to seeing activity in the crater again

“My wife is in Austria right now and our eruption brought her news,” joked Scott as he gazed at the crater on Monday. “My wife wanted me to take some pictures and that’s amazing”

Leah Mozzer, resident of the volcano, slept through the earthquake, but absolutely came to the park to watch the eruption

“It’s been active all my life so it feels normal again,” said Mozzer. “This was just an interesting way to end this crazy year, too,”

The outbreak began on Sunday at approx 9:30 p.m., with three crack openings on the walls of the Halema’uma’u crater

The source of lava at these openings was estimated to be as high as 30 meters late Monday. The vents were feeding lava into the base of Halema’uma’u, which was filled with a growing lava lake that was several meters per hour increase

“This is one of the most active volcanoes in the world So we knew the silence would end at some point, “said Andrew Lavelle, visual information specialist at HVNP.” That was entirely up to Pele “

About two hours after the eruption began on Sunday, a line of cars waited to get to Kilauea Overlook to see the lava glow

“We’ve been without lava for two years and with the holidays a few days away it makes sense that people want to see this,” Lavelle said. “We just hope people can do this safely”

While the outbreak has brought an influx of visitors to the park, rangers have done their best to ensure viewers are wearing masks and safely distance themselves from other parties

“It’s still a pandemic and COVID-19 is not pausing,” Lavelle said. “Most people respect our guidelines and some people just need a gentle reminder to put on their masks”

The park started drawing more visitors as the holiday season began and had to work harder to make sure people stayed aloof and safe

Park staff and volunteers also encourage visitors to stay on the paved paths and trails as the land around the caldera is unstable

“The landscape around the crater changed dramatically in 2018 and things are still calming down,” said Lavelle. “We urge people to stay on the trails for their own safety and avoid restricted areas.” P>

Lavelle hopes that once the pandemic ends, the lava will bring more mainland and inter-island travelers to Hawaii

“Times have been difficult for Hawaii and molten lava has attracted this area so much,” Lavelle said, “I think this will help the Big Island, especially if we don’t have to worry about COVID-19”

With the eruption bringing more visitors to HVNP, many business owners in the Volcano Village are happy the lava is back

“The volcano is why we are all here,” said Emily Weiss, Operations Manager at the Volcano Art Center, “Pele has been very calm so it’s exciting and great to see her again”

Weiss started increasing the gallery’s opening hours when it started getting more visitors at the beginning of the holiday season

“The holidays have brought more traffic so we’ve updated our opening times to take this into account,” Weiss said. “Now that the lava is back, we may have to change things up again”

Jiranan Thomas, owner of the Thai Thai Bistro in Volcano, was awakened by the earthquake on Sunday evening and felt Pele’s return

“The fact that this happened at the end of the year is a blessing” said Thomas “We have already started seeing more visitors and as the lava is coming back I think this will be good for us”

Thomas and her staff are still adhering to strict COVID-19 restrictions and only have five tables in their restaurant

“This is an exciting time for us, but we want to make sure we are safe when more people visit our city,” said Thomas

Janet Coney, general manager of Kilauea Lodge, has mixed feelings about the return of action in the crater

“It was fascinating to see the glow of the lava last night, but it brought back memories of 2018,” said Coney. “I lost a lot of personal items during the constant earthquakes, but I didn’t even have the earthquake (Sunday) felt ”

Though nervous about the future, Coney hopes the lava will help the Big Island in the long run

“It’s exciting because it could help the Big Island economy,” said Coney, “As long as people with COVID-19 restrictions are safe, this could be an exciting time for us”

With the Christmas and New Years holidays approaching, the next two weeks at Kilauea Lodge will be the busiest Coney has had this year

“Maybe the outbreak will help my numbers in early 2021,” said Coney. “In any case, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen”


World News – AU – Kilauea’s first outbreak since 2018 draws hundreds of viewers to HVNP

Source: https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2020/12/22/hawaii-news/first-kilauea-eruption-since-2018-draws-hundreds-of-onlookers-to-hvnp/