Volcano Update

Kilauea Eruption Update

UPDATED September 12th

Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii Island has again begun to erupt in the Halema’uma’u Crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Kilauea Volcano has been active since 1983, and we are very aware and informed about it’s activity.

Current volcanic activity remains contained to the crater within the National Park and has no effect on Pacific Quest or programming.

In Hawaii, lava flow is revered, and Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes and creator of the land, is a significant figure in Hawaiian culture. People from around the world come to Hawaii to see and celebrate this awesome feature of the island. At Pacific Quest, we teach and celebrate the significance and the history of volcanoes in the culture and the landscape of Hawaii.

As always, the safety of our residents and staff is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the volcanic activity and will post updates here if there are any changes.

Additional Context

The Big Island of Hawai’i is the largest island in the United States. At over 4,000 square miles, it is larger than Delaware, Rhode Island, and Washington DC combined. The Big Island has two active volcanoes. Kilauea (the most active of the two) has been nearly continuously erupting for over 100 years. The other is Mauna Loa which last erupted for a few weeks in 2022. Since 2004 we’ve experienced several volcanic related events — in all cases our operations were not affected.

Where is the Lava?

Far away from our campus.

The USGS reports that eruptive activity is currently confined to Halemaʻumaʻu crater within Kīlauea’s summit caldera.

Here is a link to a map:  Kilauea Lava Map

Is there a risk of a larger eruption like Mt St Helens?

No. Both Kilauea and Mauna Loa are shield volcanos, and unlike a stratovolcano, they are not at risk of large scale violent eruptions.

Volcanos are rated by the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI).  The scale is between 0-10 and all Hawaiian volcanos are rated as zero (0).

Hawaii is home to the most studied and monitored volcanic system in the world, and even has it’s own sub-classification (Hawaiian Eruption) defined by it’s gentle flow and eruptive nature.

What about Air Quality

  • How is air quality being impacted at PQ campuses specifically?
    Operating near a volcano in the Pacific has always meant that our air quality can vary based on conditions. It is important to note that the air quality on Hawaii Island is still better than many places around the world. Here is a map of the current Air Quality Index. Air on Hawai’i Island is most typically between “Good” and “Moderate.” 


  • What about Sulfur Levels and VOG?
    The term ‘vog’ refers to the hazy air pollution caused by the volcanic emissions from Kīlauea & Mauna Loa volcanos, which are primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas. The trade winds blow most VOG from Kilauea to the Kona side of the island and other islands, such as Oahu. We are monitoring  SO2 levels and these also most commonly fluctuate between “Good” and “Moderate.”  


  • What about “Laze”?
    This effect is a result of Lava coming into contact with saltwater, and is isolated to the immediate area surrounding the active lava flow–nowhere near our campuses.

  • What about Volcanic Ash?
    We are closely monitoring instances of wind-driven ash from Mauna Loa throughout each day. So far, we have not experienced any ash. We are prepared to move to indoor programming if there is a need at any time.

Keep Up to Date

Rest assured that our experienced team has robust policies, procedures, gear and food in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We’ll keep you up to date if anything changes, but If you would like to look into updates on your own, or find more information, you can go to: Kilauea Updates

Of course if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out: 808-747-4589

Kilauea Volcano

Key Details

  • Current eruption began September 8th
  • Big Island residents are not currently at risk, as the current eruption is contained at the crater
  • There is not a risk of large, explosive eruption such as was experienced with Mt. St. Helens.
  • During PQ’s 18-year history on Hawaii Island, operations have never been impacted by any volcanic activity.
  • Pacific Quest’s experienced team has policies, and procedures in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
  • MORE INFO: Kilauea Updates;
    Hawaii Volcanos National Park page