New signs in Volcanoes National Park tell the story of Kilauea eruption

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The 2018 eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii Island was one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions in the state in the last 200 years.
The 2018 eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii Island was one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions in the state in the last 200 years. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has installed a series of new educational panels that recount the story of the 2018 eruption of Kilauea, an event that destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings, drastically reshaped the contours of the area and closed the park for more than five months.

The 30 new wayfinding signs, funded by Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the National Park Foundation, interpret the 2018 summit collapse and eruption. Many of the new signs share Hawaiian place names and directions to trails and volcanic features, such as steam vents and sulfur deposits. Other new installations include models of Kaluapele (the Kilauea caldera) that demonstrate the geologic changes to the summit area over time.

The signs were designed and installed by staff and volunteers on the park's interpretation and education team and have been placed around the summit of Kilauea and at the Kilauea Visitor Center patio.

"We think everyone from first-time visitors to long-time park devotees will be as pleased as we are with the beautiful new signs and the information that they convey," Hawaii Volcanoes National Park acting superintendent Rhonda Loh said in a statement.

In May 2018, magma drained from the chamber beneath Halemaumau Crater at the Kilauea summit. The caldera began to collapse, triggering 60,000 strong earthquakes and clouds of rock and ash that continued until early August 2018.

The seismic activity significantly impacted Jaggar Museum, which housed many photos and exhibits on the park, and it remains closed today. While most of the park has reopened, the 2018 eruption and caldera collapse were the most destructive eruptive events in Hawaii in the past 200 years.

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