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If you have ever been to Hawaii's Big Island, you may have noticed that it's beaches are covered with black volcanic sand - that's because the Island is home to some of the world's most active volcanoes.
This year's first eruption occurred on January 7th, inside the pit of the Halemaumaa crater on Kilauea's summit, and sent out a spectacular spew of lava, one that resembled a dome fountain! On January 14th, the volcano erupted again sputtering out more lava than it has done, in over a year!
Ironically, for many years Kilauea, now thought to be the world's most active volcano, was not even classified as one. Instead, it was considered to be the branch of a bigger volcano. However, recent research has revealed that it is indeed a full-fledged volcano - one with its own magma-plumbing system that extends more than 60km below the earth's surface.
And like all of Hawaii's volcanoes, this one too has an interesting legend. According to ancient Hawaiian folklore , Kilauea is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. Believed to be born in Tahiti, she was one of six girls and seven boys born to the earth goddess.
According to the legend, Pele was exiled by her father, the creator of the Universe, and came to Hawaii by boat. Once here, she created havoc in all the islands, digging fire pits and creating volcanoes. Her sister finally caught up with her and killed her in an epic battle near Hana, on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
After her death, Pele dug her final and eternal pit on the Big Island of Hawaii, at the summit of the Kilauea Volcano. The locals who worship her as a goddess, believe that she still resides here and often come with offerings to appease her.
Pele, in turn shows her appreciation by putting on some spectacular lava shows, making it a win-win situation for both! The video below shows the spectacular eruptions that occurred in November, 2009.
sources:wikipedia.org, bigislandvideonews.com,USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory