Hawaii volcano wipes out last house standing in subdivision - Tucson News Now

Hawaii volcano wipes out last house standing in subdivision

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Source: National Park Service Source: National Park Service

Who would like to live the paradise of Hawaii? Me! But living in some parts of Hawaii mean volcanoes can wipe out your home!  

According to NASA Earth Observatory "The late 1950s and early 1960s were boom times for developers in Hawaii. Speculators would buy large parcels of land on what was then a sparsely-populated island, partition them into smaller lots, and sell them to buyers eager for a piece of paradise."

That's how Royal Gardens, a subdivision on the slopes the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, was created.  Even though the land was downslope of a very active volacano, some buyers didn't seem to care or were ignorant to the dangerous location on the mountain.  NASA Earth Observatory said "about half to two-thirds of the people who bought land at Royal Gardens came from the continental United States and never saw the land in person before buying it."

All was quiet and happy in Royal Gardens for a few decades.  By 1983 there were about 75 homes. It was that year when lava started to spill down the slopes of Kilauea, aiming for Royal Gardens.  

The top aerial photograph (below, top image) shows the Royal Garden subdivision as it appeared in February 1977. A network of roads had been etched into the lush landscape. 

The second image was taken on May 15, 2011 by a satellite. Over the course of nearly 2 decades, lava destroyed the majority of the subdivision with just one house still standing. That was Jack Thompson's house. It as finally wiped out on March 2, 2012. Thompson and a houseguest evacuated by helicopter before the lava swallowed up the house. 

Last House Standing at Royal Gardens

acquired March 2, 1977download large image (1 MB, JPEG, 2796x1864)
Last House Standing at Royal Gardens
acquired May 15, 2011download large image (5 MB, JPEG, 7110x5427)

 

 

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