Volcanoes Line West Coast and Alaska

Last Thursday, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano first split the ground open and then spit molten rock into the air in the volcano’s opening salvo against the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island. Since then, at least another 10 fissures have opened and Kilauea’s flowing lava has destroyed at least 26 homes.

Kilauea is the most active volcano in Hawaii and has been erupting from its East Rift Zone nearly continuously since 1983, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Mount Cleveland, in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, is also currently active and has been since June of 2015.

Along with the destructive lava flows, Hawaiians have had to contend with earthquakes and, for those near the lava flows, noxious fumes that may be the most serious threat to public health.

The following USGS map shows the ring of volcanoes that stretches through the Aleutians and down the west coast of the United States. The green triangles indicate that there is no current threat level, while the yellow (Mount Cleveland) carries an “advisory” alert and Kilauea is under a volcano “watch.”

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

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