Despite last week’s eruptions of a volcano at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii, state officials are assuring travelers that it is still safe to visit the area. The eruption of Mount Kilauea forced the closure of 15,700 acres of the park that sits on a total 333,308 acres, demonstrating that the amount of land affected is small by comparison. Nearly 2,000 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes in Leilani Estates, however, hotels and resorts on the island remain open to serve tourists.
The other islands in the Hawaiian island chain remain completely unaffected by the eruption and related earthquakes. Airlines may be forced to reroute plans on different flight paths slightly to account for blowing smoke and ash, but the disruption should be minimal. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the top-rated attraction on the island of Hawaii and is what sets it apart from the other islands. As the youngest and most active volcano on the island, Mount Kilauea had been giving off signals of the impending eruption for days leading up to the event. Shortly before Thursday’s eruption, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake shook the island. Prior to that big quake, a series of smaller tremors had been jolting the island as a result of the magma flow building up in Kilauea.
Evacuated residents have still not been allowed to return home, mostly due to dangerously high levels of Sulfur Dioxide gas measured in the evacuation zone.