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.
One of the youngest and most powerful, is the Kilauea Volcano. As seems to be the case around this time each year, the volcano is erupting again. However, this time, the spectacular 65ft. eruption that occurred on Saturday, March 6th, came from a new vent that was created due to the collapse of the floor of the Puu OO crater, which scientists estimate dropped as much as 370ft.
Over the weekend, the fissure, which lies about a mile from the crater, grew to over 1.4 miles wide, as lava continued to erupt up and down the vent. Thanks to this violent volcanic activity about 150 small earthquakes have been recorded in the area, since Saturday.
A similar incident happened in 1997, when the floor of the same crater collapsed and started an eruption. However, that one did not last more than 24 hours, while this latest one keeps going, albeit at a more sluggish pace, spewing out ashes and engulfing the area with toxic sulfur dioxide.
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 Hawaiiin a 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!