All Things Hawaiian
She Never Sleeps for Long
All of the Hawaiian Islands and many seamounts to the northwest emanate from a hot spot in the middle of the Pacific tectonic plate. Deep beneath the ocean, magma rises through the earth’s mantle, cutting through a weak spot in the plate, and eventually forming a mound on the seafloor. If enough magma accumulates, the top rises above the ocean’s surface to become an island. All the while, the Pacific plate moves relentlessly to the northwest, slowly carrying the new island away from the hot spot and creating space for the next one. The process has been going on for millions of years.
A Volcano in Transition
The press covered the May 2018 eruption of the Kīlauea volcano in great detail, reporting the shift in lava flows from a barren area near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) to the residential community of Leilani Gardens, the destruction of roughly 700 homes, and the subsequent collapse of Halemaʻumaʻu, Kīlauea’s central crater. The press also highlighted the new lava deltas that extended the land area of the Big Island, and recently reported on an intriguing new development since Kīlauea stopped erupting—the presence of water in the crater. Little, however, has been written about the possibility that ancient, but similar events, were captured in Hawaiian oral history or that those legends may hint at explosive future events.
Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fire and fury, has given the Big Island of Hawaiʻi a new black sand beach at Pohoiki. This small miracle arose from vast destruction, like many events of volcanic origin.
Black sand beaches are beautiful, rare, and frequently short-lived. Lacking a natural base of sand and vulnerable to future lava flows, their longevity is tenuous at best. So the appearance of a new black sand beach is cause for celebration!