The Kilauea Explosion of 2018

May 19, 2018
Ash plume rising from Kilauea May 15th, 2018, as locals watch.         Mario Tama/ Getty Images

Kilauea is a well-known volcano, and one of the world's most active. It is on the Hawaiian Big Island, on the southeastern side. This huge volcano rises 4190 ft. above the sea level, approximately 14 percent of the Big Island. According to the geological survey of the U.S., this volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983. However, on May 03, 2018 the volcano erupted again after the Big Island suffered a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. Lava found its way into the residential subdivisions, thus prompting evacuations in many places.

USGS/ The Today Show

The eruption continued through the second week of May with no major changes. A new fissure surfaced between fissure #17 and #20 where lava was found to be erupting in small amounts. The most active fissure was # 17, however its progress has reduced considerably. According to updates on the 16th of May, it was considered highly unlikely that the lava would reach the coast since it was only advancing 100m a day. Yet, there were significant events observed at the summit, near the lava lake, Halema'uma'u: there was an increase in ash emissions and immediately the aviation code was raised to red by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

Keith Brock/ NBC News

There are indications to prove that the explosion was caused by deep rock falls and the interaction between water and hot rock. Ballistic rocks were found near Halema’uma’u. This is one of the most vigorous explosions and warns of a possible steam driven explosion in the days ahead. However this is only an interpretation and further observations will be able to confirm this. More powerful explosions are expected.

Tropical Visions Video/ The Today Show

Tourists Take Care!

Tourists are most concerned. 26 homes were destroyed and approximately 1800 people were asked to evacuate  homes as the powerful volcano continued spurting toxic gases and molten rock. Moreover, the authorities in Hawaii are deeply worried that the underground pressure could make the volcano blow ash and huge boulders miles away from the summit. Even though Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes, eruption of this range are very rare. Hawaii has many active volcanoes and visitors need to be cautious. The National Park is now closed.

Lava flows have harmed roads and cars, but there are no disruptions reported for air travel. If you are planning to travel to other islands such as Maui and Oahu, you should not be facing any problem.

There are two major airports on the Big Island - Hilo and Kona, 30 miles and 100 miles away from this volcano respectively, and both are receiving flights. However tourists are worried and thus American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are waiving rebooking fees, subject to limitations.

NBC News/ The Today Show

Don't Worry About Lodging

The location of the volcano is such that most tourists need not look for a new lodging. The volcano is located remotely on the Big Island and its effects are observed in a small area. Moreover most vacation homes are located far from this place. However some small cottages near the volcano are damaged.

As there are toxic gases in the air and relief operations are underway, visitors, especially with respiratory problems, are advised to stay away from the area where the volcano has caused damage.

Travel Insurance

While travel insurance covers disasters like a volcano.  For a coverage claim, you must have gone through a flight delay, property damage or evacuation. Since the volcano is located in a remote location and due to the fact that tourists are not affected, insurance coverage is expected to be limited.


Aloha, my name is Audrey and I am part of the Hawaii Chee team. When I am not working with Hawaii Chee, I am cuddling with my 4 year old cat or hiking.

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