As we continue to support relief efforts to communities in the the Puna district affected by the recent eruptions our tour operations will continue to run as normal. For up to the minute information on how the lava activity is affecting your tour or for more information on how to receive or give support to the communities affected please call us at (808) 331-8505.
FAQ Regarding the Recent Eruptions on the Island of Hawaii
I have heard there has been more than a dozen different eruptions, does this mean an eruption could pop out anywhere?
No. There have been more than a dozen separate vents open and erupt since the current activity began on May 3, 2018. All vents have been confined to an area smaller than 200 acres near the town of Pahoa in the Leilani Estates subdivision on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. The east rift zone has been actively erupting since 1983, at or near Puu Oo. Those lava flows buried more than 180 homes in various communities. Unfortunately, during the first week of May 2018 the eruption site moved about 20 miles down the rift zone into another area where homes are located. This region experienced a three month eruption in 1955.
I heard it could get much worse, what then?
It is possible that the eruption could increase in number of vents, volume of lava, and/or explosiveness; or the eruption could end suddenly. There is no way of predicting the future of the eruption. However it is important to remember that the Island of Hawaii is comprised of five volcanoes, which all have separate “plumbing”. The current activity is confined to one volcano, Kilauea, the youngest and smallest of the five that has been erupting constantly for 35 years.
I heard the island was covered in poisonous gas, is that true?
High levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas being reported are confined to an area within a few miles of the eruption site. For many years, volcanic haze (vog) has been in the Kona skies.
Vog is blown to the Kona Coast on the wind, and itʻs thickness depends on wind and rain patterns. The most hazardous constituent gases dissipate long before the vog ever reaches the Kona region.
Where exactly are these eruptions located in comparison with my accommodations?
The currently affected community of Leilani Estates is located near Pahoa in the Puna District on the east side of the Island of Hawaii. That area is about 25 miles from Hilo and over 100 road miles from the resort areas of Waikoloa and Kona. There are a few small B&B’s and Inn’s in the region, however visitors to the Island of Hawaii rarely see this part of the island. There is no threat to Hilo, Kona, Waikoloa, or South Kohala from the current eruptions.
How will this affect my vacation?
If you are planning your stay on the west side of the island where the majority of hotels and accommodations are, you would likely not even know there is an eruption going on until you turn on the news. While there have been some closures at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, most attractions are open to visitors.
If it’s safe to come to the island why are the Governor and Civil defense asking people to stay away?
Calls for visitors to “stay away” are referencing the neighborhoods surrounding the eruption site. Unfortunately, curious visitors and locals have contributed to traffic jams near affected neighborhoods, which is making it difficult for those who are trying to evacuate to leave.
What if I want to go watch the eruption?
The eruption area is closed to the public and there is a temporary flight restriction over the Leilani Estates neighborhood. Our company discourages anyone from attempting to view lava up close where it threatens to destroy people’s homes and property.
I’d like to help the people who are displaced by the eruption, what can I do?
A fantastic grassroots effort in the community has sprung as a reaction to the lack of organized opportunities to help displaced members of the community. It is called “Puuhonua o Puna” (place of refuge of the Puna District). A lot of information on how to volunteer or donate can be found on their Facebook Page.
What is the best way to get accurate information about this eruption?
- The website of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has extremely accurate information about all aspects of the eruption: https://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/cams/
- Geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) release updates 1-2 times a day at: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/status.html
- SO2 gas levels in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can be monitored here: https://www.hawaiiso2network.com/
- Local News has been more accurate in their reporting than national news. If you are outside Hawaii check out: http://hawaiipublicradio.org or you can find “Hawaii News Now” online and on Facebook
- Follow Ikaika Marzo on Facebook, he is leading the citizen reporting and grassroots recovery efforts
Why did Hawaii Volcanoes National Park close, and when will it re-open?
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed as a safety precaution because of the
possibility of an explosive eruption in Halemaumau in the summit caldera of
The lava lake in Halemaumau began draining in early May as part of the
continuing eruption of Kilauea. A series of explosive eruptions happened in
1924, killing one person. This map shows the very localized distribution of rock
and ash fall (tephra). Th
ose explosions were generated when hot rocks and
magma from the collapsing floor of Halemaumau interacted with groundwater
during a volcanic event that year.
The rest of the island is safe, and we are definitely open for business!
The park has no timeline for when it will re-open, however staff are constantly
monitoring seismic activity and summit deflation for signs that the risk of
explosive activity has passed. It is probable that conditions will improve and allow the park to open as suddenly as it closed.
Photo credits: Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters