Hawaii Volcano: Why We Live With the Risk of Disasters

Maybe you’ve done what a lot of other people who visit the big island of Hawaii do.

Visit the area near the Kilauea volcano so you can see the slow lava flow that goes down into the ocean, a very popular tourist site for sure on that island.

Most tourists on the big island want to see it.  But with the eruption of the volcano now and the fissures and destruction of homes it is causing, some people are saying it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

But a few thousand people do live there and at some point along the way, made the decision to move there.  But it makes you wonder why you would want to live literally on top of a mountain that is essentially an active volcano?

A volcanologist at Columbia University may have the answer. She tells the USA today:

“People in America, and around the world, live with frequent threats of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and floods, in places much more densely populated than Hawaii. So she says “it’s easy to see how living in the gorgeous Aloha State, even on a volcano that sends lava your way every few decades, might still be a well calculated decision.”

And she reminds us that "unlike some other natural disasters, volcanoes usually give clues to what is coming. And there were this time, too, so the people who live on the volcano had time to get out."

With a risk of earthquakes and wildfires all the time here in California, we should be able to understand why those Hawaiians live where they do. Because after all, we live where we do.

(Photo credit Getty Images)

Kilaeua Volcano Eruption May 2018  Getty Images
 

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