A couple who were shaken awake by a volcano erupting in Hawaii jumped out of bed and went straight to the crater to get a closer look at the eruption.
Archana Ramesh and her husband, Nikhil Satish, both aged 35, were in bed when the Kilauea volcano erupted and began spewing ash into the sky late on Sunday local time. But instead of keeping their distance or fleeing the area, the pair decided to drive towards the volcano to get a closer look and took a selfie whilst looking over the lava-filled Halema’uma’u crater.
Thrill-seekers, Archana and Nikhil, from San Francisco, California, have described looking into the crater of an active eruption as a ‘symbolic end to an exceptionally crazy year’. Photographs show the couple just a matter of feet away from the mouth of the volcano as an ash cloud and an eerie orange glow flood the night sky behind them.
Archana said: ‘We were in bed asleep and everything just started shaking around us. We had no idea what was happening so I checked online and saw some posts about the earthquake and the eruption.
‘It was scary and unnerving at first because we had no idea how bad it was or if we needed to pack our bags and run away.
‘But instead I turned to my husband and said shall we go and check it out. He said sure so we jumped in our car to go and get a closer look.
‘When we were driving there we could see the orange glow in the sky and a big cloud of ash. It was such a cool experience and we were just so high on adrenaline.
‘We were able to get right up to a lookout point so we could see into the crater. Initially we were very shocked because we could see the orange glow inside the crater and we could smell the hydrogen sulphide.
‘It was an absolutely amazing thing to witness a live volcano in action, it’s definitely one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had and I’ll never forget it.
‘Most people would choose to run away from a volcano but I’m so pleased we went to check it out. We never really felt in danger, it was breathtaking.’
The eruption on Hawaii’s big island happened shortly after a 4.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded at 10.35pm local time on Sunday.
It’s the first time the ‘shield volcano’ Kilauea has erupted since 2018 and is considered to be the most active of five volcanoes on Hawaii.
Archana and Nikhil have been on holiday in the town of Volcano since Friday after choosing to visit Hawaii’s big island to explore its volcanic history. The pair have an interest in geology, said Archana, and have spent the last few days visiting lava fields and the island’s volcanic landmarks.
Their holiday home is located just a few miles from the erupting Kilauea volcano on the outskirts of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Archana said the opportunity to get up close and personal with an active eruption was too good not to take.
She said: ‘We came to Hawaii because it’s fairly covid-safe to escape to. One of the main reasons we came here was to have the unique experience of exploring the lava fields and volcanic sites.
‘So when this happened tonight I knew it would be a memorable thing to experience.
‘When we got close to the volcano there were park rangers at the entrance and he said we were fine to go and get a closer look. There was other people up there too and we felt far enough away from the crater to feel safe.
‘It’s one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in life. I actually feel more at peace and less nervous now that I’ve seen the volcano.
‘It feels like a very symbolic end to an exceptionally crazy year.
‘We are going to struggle to get back to sleep now, especially because we have no idea what might happen next.’
Officials in Hawaii have issued a tsunami warning for the islands following the seismic activity. Ash clouds are expected to descend on some regions in Hawaii over the next couple of days following the eruption.
Archana and Nikhil are due to travel back to San Francisco on Christmas Eve, but it’s not yet known if the volcanic eruption will impact flying conditions for aircrafts traveling to and from Hawaii.
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