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A national park in Hawaii has reopened after being closed for more than four months because of Kilauea volcano's latest eruption, which caused widespread damage to park infrastructure and dramatically changed its landscape.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park officials said there were no lines or waiting for visitors to catch a glimpse of the volcano that made headlines across the world when it began erupting in May. Admission is free Saturday.
Eruption - Hundreds - Homes - Park - Summit
The eruption destroyed hundreds of homes outside the park while changing the popular summit crater inside the park.
The national park—normally the state's most-visited tourist attraction—had been closed for 135 days as volcanic activity caused explosive eruptions, earthquakes and the collapse of the famed Halemaumau crater. Ash clouds shot skyward from the summit crater and blanketed the region in volcanic debris.
Kilauea - Decades - Eruption - May - Park
Kilauea has been active for decades. But the eruption that began in May has transformed both the park and the rural Big Island coastline that surrounds it.
Outside the park, lava flows consumed entire neighborhoods, filled an ocean bay and created miles of new shoreline with fresh black sand beaches and jagged rocky outcrops. Inside the park, molten rock drained from the summit lava lake and vanished from view as the landscape underwent a monumental change.
Summit - Crater - Floor - Sunk - Feet
The summit crater floor sunk 1,500 feet (460 meters), and the overall Kilauea caldera widened—expanding more than 1 square mile, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It quadrupled in size as lava drained out of the active vent.
"This eruption was really unprecedented in the historic record," Ingrid Johanson, a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The changes we've seen at the summit are much more dramatic than anything that's happened in the last 200 years."
Crater - Johanson - People
The crater looks "completely different," Johanson said. "I think people...
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