What’s your least favorite natural disaster? For many of us, it’s whatever disaster we’ve experienced personally.
Residents of the Midwest fear tornadoes, while people from the Sunshine State dread hurricanes. Meanwhile, those who adore California live in terrible, tense anticipation of the next big earthquake.
Still, I think we’d all have to agree that volcanoes spewing lava rate pretty high on the disaster scale. And as footage taken a year after the eruptions on Hawaii’s Big Island show, they can be devastating.
According to NPR, eruptions from the Halemaumau Crater began on May 3, 2018. They didn’t slow until August, fresh lava flows continuing unabated for months.
Those streams of molten rock did significant damage. They sliced through roads, obliterating infrastructure.
They gobbled up houses, reducing them to ash. The crater also ejected flaming boluses called “lava bombs.”
Those bombs injured multiple people. Dozens were hurt when one struck a tour boat in the water.
ABC News shared satellite images of the eruption as it happened. Initially, the eyes in the sky could see the red-hot streams flowing from the crater.
Once the lava reached the ocean, though, a thick plume of steam began to cover the island. Called laze, it’s composed of water vapor, hydrochloric acid and glass particles.
According to Caters News Agency, the aftermath of the eruption has radically reshaped the island. In the end, it destroyed approximately 700 homes.
Some 2,000 people had to flee Halemaumau’s wrath, and the lava ended up covering 9,000 acres of land.
Interestingly, the eruption both destroyed and created. The Big Island now has roughly 875 acres of very, very new coast.
Hong Kong photographer Joseph Anthony captured video of the aftermath one year after the eruption, and it’s breathtaking.
Drone footage displays swathes of land covered by hardened lava, the new stone’s surface runnelled and alien-looking.
Smoke still sluiced from the unquiet earth, eerily drifting over the ground. A ribbon of road remained, surrounded on all sides by new, gray rock.
“People of Hawaii have learned the hard way just how reliant their economy was on the presence of active lava,” Anthony said. “Although Kilauea is still considered an active volcano and will one day erupt again, it might not happen in our lifetimes.
“I think everyone involved has come to realize that recent history is not indication of the future when it comes to volcanoes,” Anthony continued.
“They will do what they are going to do and there isn’t much you can do about it if you choose to live on an island with an active volcano.”
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