Ever experienced any Big Island curiosities about Hawaii’s volcanoes? Learn more about the largest Hawaiian island, including the effects of active volcanoes.

Billions of people worldwide know of Hawaii from the countless pictures of lavish, tropical beaches. People also know of the island chain due to its active string of volcanoes dotting the landmasses in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Anyone with Big Island curiosities wonders about the impact these volcanoes have on the surrounding areas.

Eight main islands make up the state of Hawaii, with the largest island, also known as the “Big Island” going by the state’s namesake. Hawaii houses five volcanoes: Hualalai, Kilauea, Kohala, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa. Kohala lies extinct, last erupting roughly 60,000 years ago. Scientists consider Mauna Kea dormant as it hasn’t erupted in 3,600 years.

To those not from Hawaii, it may seem as though Kilauea’s eruption caused an expansive impact. However, these Big Island curiosities are not entirely correct. Continue reading to find the answers to some of the questions you may have regarding Hawaii, its volcanoes, and the effects of Kilauea’s recent eruption.

1. How far and wide does the lava flow spread?

If you’re not from Hawaii and full of curiosities about the Big Island, you may think that the lava flow expands across the entire landmass. Pictures in the news of the destruction left in the lava’s wake only heighten those concerns.

In reality, the result of the eruption of Kilauea doesn’t stretch as far as you may think. The island of Hawaii covers more than 4,000 square miles. The most recently active volcano located on the easternmost side of the island, tucked into a far corner of the land.

2. Can Kilauea’s lava flow reach the west side of the Big Island?

Although the local damage is extensive and continues to grow, the lava flow is far from reaching the opposite side of the island. For example, Hawaii Island Recovery resides on the western side of the island. As you can see from the map below, the damage is not as far-flung as it may seem.

Map of real lava flow in Hawaii

 How far has the damage from the recent Kilauea eruption stretched? Rest assured: Hawaii Island Recovery is still a safe place to seek treatment and help.

Hawaii Island Recovery is in the city of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, more than 90 miles away from the eruption of Kilauea. It is essentially impossible for the destruction to stretch to the opposite coast of the Big Island.

3. What about the air? Does the ash from Kilauea pollute the air?

Ash from the volcano’s eruption pollutes local air, raining down onto the surrounding areas. Its impact stretches about 12 miles out from the volcano’s center. This leaves more than 80 miles between its furthest impact and the western side of Hawaii. State health officials issued a warning for residents living near Kilauea but those on the opposite coast do not have to worry.

4. Is it safe to travel to Hawaii right now?

Though the damage doesn’t stretch as far as you may think, the US Geological Survey warned that the ash may impact flights coming into areas surrounding Kilauea. They have not shut down any airports or air traffic coming into the Big Island yet so you are safe to travel to areas like Kailua Kona.

5. How active are the Big Island’s volcanoes?

Three of the Big Island’s five volcanoes are still active but two of the three have not erupted in some years. The fourth lies dormant and scientists consider the fifth extinct. The most recent eruptions from each volcano are as follows:

  • Kilauea: Actively erupting
  • Mauna Loa: Last erupted in 1984
  • Hualalai: Last significant eruption in 1801
  • Mauna Kea: Last erupted more than 3,600 years ago (dormant)
  • Kohala: Last erupted over 60,000 years ago (extinct)
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6. How will I know if Hualalai or Mauna Loa are close to eruption?

Although the most recent eruption following Kilauea’s is Mauna Loa in 1984, chances that the other two active volcanoes may erupt at some point in the future. Signs of a volcanic eruption include:

  • Small earthquakes
  • Slight swelling of the volcano
  • Increased emission of heat and gas

The signs of a potential volcanic eruption are a common Big Island curiosity. Scientists keep a close eye on volcanic activity to make sure that surrounding areas prepare for possible eruptions.

7. Do the volcanic eruptions cause earthquakes?

Signs of a potential volcanic eruption include small earthquakes beforehand. When a volcano erupts, earthquakes may accompany it. The movement of magma on the inside of the volcano causes these quakes.

8. What is the weather like when a volcano is erupting?

Volcanic eruptions lead to higher temperatures in nearby surrounding areas. The CO2 emissions caused by eruptions also impact the climate and can lead to harmful rains in very specific conditions. Despite the recent eruption of Kilauea, though, officials have yet to release any news that the CO2 emissions have been abnormally high.

9. I have many other Big Island curiosities. Where can I find out more?

One of the best resources to quench your thirst for Big Island curiosities is on the state of Hawaii’s official website. Learn more about the state’s history and how thousands of years of volcanic eruptions formed the island chain.

10. Is Hawaii Island Recovery safe from the damage caused by Kilauea’s eruption?

Hawaii Island Recovery is situated in a location where you will be safe from the Kilauea eruption. Many miles stretch between the active eruption and the rehab center. If you are looking for addiction, alcoholism, or mental health treatment in Hawaii, you can still find a safe place to recover at our center.

Call our admissions office at 877-721-3556 to learn more about how we can help you recover from addiction in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth. Staff can answer any questions you may have and provide you with additional information about local conditions.

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Hawaii Island Recovery, the Big Island’s premiere residential substance abuse treatment facility for adults, offers a comprehensive treatment program in a tranquil and healing environment.