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Pu`u O`o lava claims The Lava House

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Kilauea’s Pu`u O`o crater has been erupting off and on, with little interruption, since January 3, 1983. In the last few months, it took over a green area called Royal Gardens, where a lone house, a bed and breakfast called The Lava House, was the only structure. It was run by Jack Thompson, who moved into his home in 1983, the day before a huge eruption that destroyed all other homes nearby. Tourists visited Jack’s home via helicopter in a video — the beginning and the end from about 5:15s really give a good view. From June 2011:

Jack and his home are completely cut-off from the outside world. Jack uses a generator for a few hours a day and has a cell phone to chat with the reporters who frequently call him, as well as the helicopter companies that call to check on the weather. Jack does have satellite TV. His water is collected from rain water and stored in a large tank (very common in remote areas of Hawaii). 

Every seven to ten days Jack hikes to town for supplies. The hike is an eerie, risk filled trek across three and a half miles of lava to the closest road, which was also cut-off by a lava flow. From there Jack rides a bike he stores nearby, to town. 

Spared for three decades, the home was finally consumed a month ago (video with shots from above to compare). Documentarian Leigh Hilbert was on site when Jack had to evacuate his home on March 2nd, 2012. It shows both the power of the lava and Jack’s positive attitude as he prepares to change his life and leave his home. 

Related videos: Volcanic Eruptions 101: How It Happens, plus more volcano videos.

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