After about two weeks of eruption, Mauna Loa eruption has stopped. This blog was written by our student worker.
Aloha everyone. It’s me, Jessica, again. As many people around the world have already heard, our very own Mauna (mountain), Mauna Loa, on our island of Hawaii has erupted last week. As it is, there is no immediate threat to any houses or lives in the area, but it is approaching one of our main highways called “Saddle Road” by the locals and “Daniel K. Inouye Highway” by others.
After 38 years, Mauna Loa, which means “Long/Tall Mountain” in Hawaiian, finally decided to wake up and let the whole wide world know that it has awakened from its slumber. After a series of earthquakes that the whole island constantly felt for months, it finally happened on November 27, 2022, at almost midnight. The last time it erupted it came really close to Kaumana, which is the upper part of Hilo that ascends the slopes of Mauna Kea (meaning “White Mountain”) leading into the flatlands between the two mountains.
Coincidentally, our other active volcano, Kilauea/Halema’uma’u Crater, has also been erupting at the same time. Many visitors at the national park have seen this very rare occurrence of two volcanoes erupting on the same island at the same time with just a little over 20 miles away from each other. And, to top it off, there was also snow on top of Mauna Kea that sits facing Mauna Loa.
This sight triggered a lot of local talk about this one Hawaiian mythology/legend about Pele, our volcanic fire goddess who resides on the slopes of Mauna Loa, and her rival snow goddess Poli’ahu, who resides on the summit of Mauna Kea. The battle between the two of them is called the “Tale of Fire and Ice” by many. Pele, being the domineering, jealous, and mischievous one that she is, challenged Poli’ahu to a sledding battle down the slopes of Mauna Kea. According to the legend, the sledding battle was halted when Pele dropped her human form out of frustration and released streams of molten lava one after another while shaking the whole island with a series of earthquakes. Realizing that she was racing her rival, Pele, Poli’ahu quickly fled back to the top of Mauna Kea and began to freeze the lava, pushing Pele back into the depths of the island core. It is said that you can see where the battle took place in the cliffs and shorelines of the Hamakua Coast and the Laupahoehoe peninsula. If you are ever in that area, I recommend checking it out. Happy traveling~
Story of Pele vs. Poli’ahu (Tale of Fire and Ice): https://www.gohawaii.com/stories/pele-and-poliahus-battle-island-of-hawaii
Photo credit: https://www.camdenarrand.com/