Ten years ago the beloved seaside communities of Kapa`ahu and
Kalapana on the southeast flank of Kilauea Volcano were overrun by
lava. It was an agonizing experience for all who witnessed the
retaking of homes and farmland, cherished gathering spots, and places
of worship. Over an 11-month period, the slow advance of lava
eventually covered about 2 km2 to an average thickness of
10 m and created a new shoreline several hundred meters seaward.
Kalapana was covered by lava from the Kupaianaha vent, which was
active between July 1986 and February 1992. For first few years, lava
from the vent poured through lava tubes and into the sea about 2
km west of the Kalapana area. Then a series of brief eruptive pauses
in 1990 resulted in new surface flows and new tubes that delivered
lava into the heart of Kalapana.