In the shadow of a volcano

By Barbara Wood


Red Cross volunteer Barbara Wood of Woodside works in Hilo, Hawaii, with Eric Mondero of San Diego in the Red Cross headquarters where the work of other volunteers helping the island respond to ongoing volcanic activity is coordinated. (Photo: Karl Matzke, American Red Cross volunteer)

Kilauea has long been a tourist attraction on the “big island” of Hawaii, a volcano within a national park that has been erupting with generally benign regularity since 2008.

In Hawaiian mythology Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater is the home, and the embodiment, of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. As part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, tourists regularly hike Pele’s flanks.

On May 3, however, everything changed. Soon after volcanic fissures began opening up under homes and farmland in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of the district of Puna, and earthquakes began coming almost too fast for the U.S. Geological Survey to register them, residents were evacuated, structures destroyed, roads closed and the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) a geothermal energy plant that supplied a quarter of the island’s power was shut down, perhaps forever.

Read the entire article that Barbara, an NCCR volunteer, had published in The Almanac, a publication that serves Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside in our region.