National Park Closes Popular Areas After Earthquakes, Volcanic Eruption Fears


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park attracts more than one million visitors every year to experience the Big Island‘s beauty. But if you were planning to go sometime soon, you might want to check out the latest warnings. 

On April 29, officials detected more than 350 earthquakes in a 24-hour period, prompting concerns that a volcanic eruption could be imminent. An increase in the frequency of earthquakes and seismic activity often precedes an eruption, and park officials are taking precautionary measures by closing off parts of the park that could be affected if Kīlauea volcano erupts. This includes overnight camping at all coastal sites, the Kulanaokuaiki campground, and Ka’ū Desert Trail, as well as a number of access roads. 

“Safety is our main focus, and the uncertainty of where an eruption could break out increases risk,” park chief ranger Jack Corrao said in a National Park Service statement. “Elevated volcanic gases, dangerous lava activity, damaging earthquakes and lava-ignited wildfire are all potential hazards associated with an eruption.”

For now, officials at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are unsure if this spike in seismic activity will lead to an eruption in the near future or if the rumblings will simply remain below ground. Still, an eruption isn’t outside the realm of possibility. “The gradual strengthening of seismic swarms suggests that an eruption in the summit region of Kīlauea or beneath the upper East Rift Zone in the park is one potential outcome,” the NPS said. 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has an impressive claim to fame as home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kīlauea last erupted in September 2023 and sent lava spewing more than 80 feet in the sky at the time. In 2022, the park closed the summit of the famed Mauna Loa in anticipation of its massive 12-day eruption. 

At this rate, Kīlauea is becoming the new Krakatoa. 

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