Pele, Volcano Goddess

In our corner of Northwest Illinois we often have roads closed in the winter due to snow ... and car vs. deer accidents are common in the fall and can sometimes temporarily stop traffic.  But road closures due to lava flow? ... it's just not something we midwesterners see often!

The Puu Oo volcano, part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983.  Lava has claimed nearly 200 buildings, miles of roads and many ancient Hawaiian sites.  But this is not a "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!" sort of eruption. The lava flows at a very slow pace.  So slowly that the National Park Service (NPS) website warns you not to roast marshmallows over the lava (seriously? is that a common problem?).  It is more likely that someone will get hurt walking backwards as they take selfies of themselves by a lava flow!

Road Closed due to lava flow on July 26, 2016.  NPS Photo by David Okita.

Road closed due to lava flow from the

Puu Oo volcano on July 26, 2016.

NPS photo by David Okita.

"Pele Dreaming," sculpture of the Hawaiian goddess by Herb Kawainui Kane

"Pele Dreaming," a sculpture of the volcano goddess by Herb Kawainui Kane. 

Puu Oo's 33 years of lava flow is the longest lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries. But is that the longest lived volcano ever in the history of the earth? Nobody knows.

The NPS recommends observing the volcano activity and the lava flow from the end of Chain of Craters Road, about four or five miles from the lava.  They have set up a ranger station with eruption updates, hiking and safety tips and a lava safety video.  But for the more adventurous, hiking is allowed.  By "hiking" they mean a 10 to 12 mile roundtrip hike over rocky terrain and without any paths.  Bring your own water (suggested at one gallon per person per day) as there is no food or water available in the area, and although it is open 24 hours a day, camping is suggested only for the well-experienced.  Hmm, that's a bit too much adventure for me!

So why is the volcano erupting?  Forget the scientific answer, I prefer the local legend.  Pele, the goddess of fire, lightening, wind and volcanoes, is the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.  Molten lava is her kino lau, or body form.  She is coming out for a visit!

Haven't heard much about Pele?  Well, you may hear a lot about her soon.  Disney's newest princess is Moana, a Polynesian teenager and the movie is her action-packed adventure crossing the sea to save her family.  Early reports said that Pele would be the villain in the movie, but more recent press does not mention Pele, and a voice actress for the role has not yet been announced.  So is Pele still in the movie?  Well, we'll have to wait until November to see!

Moana, the Polynesian title character in

Disney's newest princess movie.

In theaters in November, 2016.

Whether you're planning to hike through Puu Oo's molten lava on the Chain of Craters Road, or will be walking through Illinois' snow, our new Chain of Craters socks will make you feel like a goddess!

Happy Knitting . . . . Scout​

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