Kalapana, Hawaii

April 08, 2015

Ruins in Kalapana


Photographer: Mila Zinkova
Summary Author: Mila Zinkova

Kalapana was once a beautiful town in the Puna district of the Big Island of Hawaii. Secluded beaches, warm natural pools, tropical plants created an attractive lifestyle, but in 1990 it all was about to change after Kilauea erupted. Many homes were burned by lava, but some, including the historic Star of the Sea Painted Church, were moved to other locations.

On the top photo you can see some of the ruins of Kalapana. Behind the burnt frame in the foreground a school bus lies completely buried by lava -- its roof just breaches the surface. Nonetheless, some people have returned to built new houses. However, there are still no utilities, and the roads (see the road on the bottom photo) are poor. More troublesome yet, the lava is never far away. Note the steam from lava entering the ocean. Because Kilauea not only destroys old landscapes but also creates new ones, new beaches and vegetation have emerged. For residents of Kalapana, both old and new, living with the beauty of one of the Nature's greatest but most volatile wonders was, and evidently still is, a risk worth taking. Click here to see a slide show of lava flows on the Big Island.

Photo details: Bottom - Camera Model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi; Focal Length: 17.0mm; Aperture: ƒ/9.0; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 100; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows.