18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Your Neighborhood Volcano

This is June 9th, 2018, and the infamous Fissure 8 is spouting high with true ferocity down an otherwise sleepy section of Puna, on the Big Island, Hawaii. As I walk with the National Guard down this abandoned street, my eyes are full of wonder at the magnitude of the earth's beauty and fury. My goggles slip against my sweaty face, and I press my sulfur-filtered face mask hard against my nose. It's an imperfect defense against these harsh fumes and treacherous smoke vapors. It's only me and one guard that has walked this close. About 200 meters away down this lane is Fissure 8. That billowing demon has destroyed the entire low westerly section of the the Big Island. On April 30, 2018, a series of geothermal events caused a chain reaction which finally resulted in the sprouting of Fissure 8 on May 3, 2018, which continued to grow with varied intensity until the end of August that same year. (PUNA, BIG ISLAND, HAWAII, June 9, 2018.)

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Puna, near Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii, United States of America
Copyright: © SheriBelle Karper