If you've lived in the Rockford area for any length of time, you've probably noticed that the winter season really starts getting on our collective nerves around the start of February. Looking at the temperatures outside (combined with single digit wind-chill), and the calendar, I must admit that I'm getting tired of shivering, too.

That's why I pretty much envy Hawaiians. Sure, they've got temperate weather, lots of sunshine (rare around here lately), and gorgeous beaches, but they've also got their own type of natural space heater. It's called Mount Kilauea volcano, and it's been throwing off massive amounts of heat (along with lava, rock, ash, etc.) since 1983.

Kilauea is actually one of five volcanoes that make up the Island of Hawaii. Kilauea is a Hawaiian word meaning "much spreading" or "spewing", because of its frequent lava flow.

A couple of other notes about Kilauea, from SoftSchools:

  • Since 1823 Kilauea has had 61 different eruptions.
  • Kilauea's eruptions have destroyed more than 200 buildings. Some of the structures destroyed by the lava flowing from Kilauea include the Royal Gardens subdivision, the visitor center at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and many buildings in Kalapana.
  • In March 1990 Kilauea began its most destructive period since 1823, leaving 50 to 80 feet of lava covering a church, a store, and more than 100 homes.
  • In 1959 Kilauea erupted and sent lava 1900 feet into the air like a fountain. The fountain of lava reached three times the height of the Washington monument.
  • In 2014 Kilauea's lava flow threatened to destroy the Hawaiian town Pahoa, but the flow stopped short of the town and by 2015 the threat appeared to be greatly reduced.
  • Kilauea remains a popular tourist attraction, despite the risk associated with its eruptions.

The reason I bring up Kilauea, is that it's currently freezing here in my office, and I'm drawn to pretty much anything offering some warmth. That, and some of the video shot there during the last week or so of eruptions is nothing short of spectacular:

Being a bit short on cash and vacation time, I'm thinking of milling around outside the gates at Volcano Falls this afternoon. It's as close to the real thing as I could find in the Rockford area. But, since they're closed for the season, maybe Netflix has "Joe Versus the Volcano."

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