The surprising tourism bump from Hawaii’s spewing volcano

It’s worth noting the eruption site is currently concentrated in 10 square miles in a 4,028-square-mile island that measures 60 miles long and 30 miles wide. The car drive from Kīlauea to the tourist destination of Kona takes approximately two hours.

Based on the number of press releases addressing it, air quality appears to be the primary concern of would-be visitors. Stovall pointed out that laze, a natural process when hot lava hits the ocean and emits hydrochloric acid and steam mixed with particles of glass into the air, has been occurring over the past 35 years whenever Kīlauea’s lava flow reaches the ocean.

Vog—volcanic smog—has been around that long, too. Vog has created a visible haze from the release of sulfur dioxide mixed with sunlight, atmospheric oxygen, moisture, and dust.

According to Bagwell, “Somebody on the tour made the comment that the haze is probably worse in Southern California than it is here right now with an active volcano.”