Lava's volatile nature and ominous glow make it one of nature's most visually captivating elements. For residents living near the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, it's a source of cultural significance, immense beauty and very real danger.
A slow-moving flow of lava that began spewing from Kilauea's Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on June 27 could reach the rural Pahoa Village in the next two weeks, according to predictions by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The fiery flow has re-awakened after coming to a brief halt in late September and is now traveling at a rate of about 390 feet per day. As of Tuesday evening, the flow did not pose an immediate threat to residential areas, and no official evacuation had been declared.
Local photographer Ed Coykendall has captured the flow's striking beauty in his latest series, which features the glowing lava under the starry island sky. Some of his photos, as seen below, were taken along the Chain of Craters Road near Pahoa; others were taken at the flow's source.
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Coykendall's home, located less than an hour away in the town of Hilo, isn't directly threatened by the flow; but he knows many people who are. "Everyone seems to fear the uncertainty of the travel to and from work and whether or not their home will be directly affected by the lava," he told The Huffington Post. "I know several people personally have already moved and left their homes vacant."
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent has destroyed 214 structures since it began erupting in 1983. Hawaii County has already begun paving a one-lane emergency road through lava rock in case the current lava flow covers Highway 130, the only way in or out of Pahoa.
But even as the flow's path fluctuates, bringing a new set of threats and concerns with it, locals aren't getting discouraged. "Most residents are trying to keep a positive attitude, in hopes the eruption will stop," Coykendall said.
Take a look at more of his stunning lava photos: