The summer of 2018 will be legend in future Hawaii history books--and in the volcanology community. The volcano eruption that started in May and continued for three months, destroying some 1,000+ homes while simultaneously creating 800+ acres of new land was unprecedented. The sheer amount of lava pumped out of the ground still has scientists scratching their heads, and the 10,000+ localized earthquakes that impacted the summit of Kilauea -- causing Volcanoes National Park to close -- was equally mind-blowing.
Final image: the main crater of Kilauea (Halemaumau), August 2018. All images courtesy USGS.
But in early August, it all stopped. Mother Nature (locally we call her Pele) decided to take a break. The scientists are quick to point out that it could just be a "pause," but after 40+ days of no eruption or earthquakes, it seems the huge Kilauea eruption of 2018 is over.
So what now? Well, some seriously good news, that's what.
Clear skies over the Big Island -- and particularly the Kona region, are the clearest in anyone's memory.
When the volcano is active it creates volcanic smoke/gasses--currently there is so little it can hardly be measured right at the volcano source--let alone 70 miles away here in Kona! This clean air might even help some triathletes improve their times in the upcoming Kona Ironman Triathlon World Championships.
Volcanoes National Park will partially re-open next week (Sept. 22, 2018). The chance to get into the park and see the massively changed Kilauea crater/caldera is something I personally look forward to. Some trails will be open (not yet my fave, Kilauea Iki). There will be no drinkable water and minimal services in the Park for the foreseeable future, but it will still be an awesome place to visit.
The island's many other volcano-related sights and treasures should now be more meaningful than ever. Here's where to go to experience several.