This sky-level satellite image above shows how most of Puna is covered in a lush green canopy, with some visible lava flows in the District of Puna.
Puna is one of the smaller islands in the American states of Hawaii. At around 1,300km2 Puna is slightly smaller than the island of Kaua.
It’s subtropical climate and volcanic national park has made it a major environmental attraction to visitors and it’s the only producer of papaya fruits within the Hawaiian islands.
I’ve always found the volatile nature of volcanic areas in the Pacific Ring of Fire to have a particularly unique and strange beauty. In Puna, there have been continual volcanic eruptions on the island since 1983. As a place that’s constantly under siege by fire, people must have a very real sense of their own mortality, and a respect for the landscape and nature.
In October 2015, the local authorities warned of an impending destruction to towns on the island of Puna.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was initially constructed a few decades ago but public access to the national park was all but obliterated in 1986, when lava flows destroyed roads and reshaped the formation entire park.
Curious tourists wanting to glimpse and capture the volcanoes in action are warned that the lava constantly changes directions and sometimes with no warning will ooze into new territories. Those experimenting with GoPros and expensive equipment find that radiant heat will overcome their expensive gear from quite a distance away from the lava.
There is something darkly pleasurable about watching the raw power of the earth overcome the neat order put in place by people and their flimsy, temporary residences. Although it’s terrible I enjoy watching the lava ruin safety plans, watching the Mother taking back and reasserting herself as the one true goddess.
Pele: The Hawaiian Goddess of Fire
Mai ka `aina mai o Polapola,
Mai ka punohu a Kane,
Mai ke ao lapa i ka lani.The woman Pele comes from Kahiki,
From the rising mist of Kane,
From the clouds that move in the sky.