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International Airport, you would have seen Hualälai’s most recent eruption. Covering a large swatch of North Kona terrain, the black lava left an indelible impression on those living contemporaneously of the eruption, as well as visitors who first catch a glimpse of the unusual landscape from their airplane’s window. A little further up the coastline you can see the 1859 eruption from Mauna Loa, as it slithered its way down to Kïholo Bay, destroying a village and massive fishpond. This eruption lasted 300 days and was so bright and voluminous that people could see the light from the south side of Maui, and could use its glow to read in the dark in Waimea. Those who hike to Kïholo Bay and reach its stunning shoreline only need to imagine a time not so long ago when Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, reshaped the coastline. Of course, many people know of Hawaiÿi’s s most famous and recently most prolific volcano, Kïlauea. Back when it started erupting in 1983, it was hard to imagine how much the Big Island would change over time. Kaimü Beach, located in Kalapana, used to be a beautiful strand of black sand framed by idyllic coconut palms. In 1990, lava inundated this unique beach, wiping it off the map. However, over time, a new beach has formed in its place. You can still see where the old shoreline existed; but now to get to the beach, you must walk 5 to 10 minutes before being greeted with a new strand of midnight black sand. Industrious caretakers planted palms nearby, a promise to future visitors that Kaimü Beach is a place that not only lives in the past and present, but also dreams of the future. With the significant May 2018 eruption that displaced thousands of 46

people, covered neighborhoods, and wiped out some of Puna’s most stunning shoreline, the past, present, and future collided in intense and disastrous fashion. One cannot help but be in awe of the display of power or the unpredictability of an actively erupting volcano, and for those lucky enough to visit Kïlauea from 1983 to 2018, we saw firsthand the magic of Earth at work. An even newer black sand beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park, Pohoiki, only came into existence within the past year due to this recent eruption. Sadly, some beloved spots like Kapoho Tidepools, Green Lake and Ahalanui Beach Park were consumed by lava and are sorely missed. Though Kïlauea is no longer erupting, the scientists of the Hawaiÿi Volcanoes National Park are actively at work studying the most recent eruption, attempting to anticipate the eruptions of the future, as it is only a matter of when, not if, that Pele will awaken from her slumber once again. There’s no official way to predict when, though there are clues that scientists look for. The reality is the Big Island will continue to grow, all the while battering the ravages of wind, rain and time. The Pacific Plate will continue to inch its way northwestward, and a new island, Löÿihi, will likely soon (well, only if you consider the next 100,000 years “soon”) poke its head above the sea. The everchanging landscape is a reminder to us all to appreciate nature’s gems in our present time. Go experience them and take plenty of pictures while they are still here for us to enjoy. You never know when Pele will decide it’s time to reshape the island again and take claim of our cherished sites. BIG ISLAND TRAVELER

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