EXPLAINER: Where will Hawaii’s biggest volcano erupt from?
A long list of potential volcanic eruptions at Hawaii’s big nine are possible. But it’s unlikely any of them will ever erupt with the force of the one at Kīlauea volcano over the past week. It occurred in March, when lava that poured up to the road on which the community of Ewa Beach is located, burned a mile into the surface of the road. In November, Kīlauea volcano erupted once with one large cloud of lava that reached speeds of over 200 mph.
But here’s an interesting question: Will the world’s biggest volcano erupt in the next two months or in about 16 years?
According to a new study by geologist Robert D. Black, the “hot spot” of Kīlauea’s eruption would have to reach an area approximately the size of the state of Illinois or Kansas to cause a giant, explosive eruption.
“I would be surprised if it doesn’t take quite a while to grow to the size of a state,” Black said. “It would need to grow a lot slower than it has so far to the south, where it’s going now.”
Hawaiians can be forgiven for thinking that the state of Hawaii is bigger than the 50 million or so residents that populate its shores. It is. Kīlauea is about 1,600 square miles, or 1.2 million acres, and it is the most voluminous and active volcano on the planet, with a record eruption over a few months in 1924. But that’s an old record.
The island of Hawaii is an archipelago made up of 20 big islands, 10 that are atolls, 15 islets and a tiny islet called Maui. Kīlauea lies about 20 miles off the northwest coast of Hawai’i