We live on an island with an active volcano. How many places in the world can you say that your home is literally growing? We can on the Big Island since, when the lava is flowing into the ocean, the island is truly growing.
Strangely enough, we don’t really worry about it much. Some of the most beautiful places on the island are in areas at the greatest risk of being covered by lava. We have had places for sale that are sitting on lava flows that are only 50 years old.
What is a “Lava Hazard Zone”?
Geologists and volcanologists that study these things have divided the island into “Lava Hazard Zones”, which are numbered from 1 to 9, with 1 being the highest risk and 9 being the lowest.
What does it mean to be Lava Zone One or Two?
It means that your financing and insurance options are more limited. There’s only a few lenders that will loan for a home in Lava Zone One (we know who they are and can direct you to them). As for insurance, there’s one program for Lava Zone One that will cover only $350,000 of replacement value. Or you can go to Lloyd’s of London who will insure anything, including houses in lava zone one (or your big toe, if you want them to).
For Lava Zone Two, there’s a lot more options and for Zones Three and up, your choices are pretty much unlimited.
What happens if lava covers my house and land?
If it covers your house, the house burns up. The land is still yours and you can rebuild. Wait a while for the lava to harden, though.
It’s always a good idea, just in case, to make an offering to Pele (the goddess of the volcano) whenever you visit Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It’s said that she likes red flowers and gin (or maybe that’s the park staff).
However, don’t pick flowers of the Ohia Lehua tree. Its a long story and a wonderful Hawaiian legend but suffice it to say that the flowers of that tree are very sacred to Pele and you must not pick them unless you know all the proper chants and meles and how to perform them.
Which subdivisions are in each lava hazard zone?
Lava Zone 1
- Leilani Estates
- Kapoho (parts of it, not all — call for details)
Lava Zone 2
- Black Sand Beach
- Nanawale Estates
- Hawaiian Beaches and Shores and Parks
- Kapoho (parts of it — again, call for details)
- Puna Beach Palisades
- Kalapana Seaview Estates
- Kaimu-Makena Houselots (which is funny because a 15-year-old flow is covering part of it)
Lava Zone 3
- Tiki Gardens
- Hawaiian Paradise Park
- Hawaiian Areas
- Fern Acres
- Everything up and around Volcano and all of Hilo
Where can I get more information?
Go to the experts by following this link