Poor, beautiful Hawaii. When we went in 2012, we were able to see the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, and visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The closer viewing platform was closed because of the air quality, and the road outside the park to get a (illegal) better look was closed off as well, so this was as close as we could get:
The park itself was cool to drive through because you could see steam rising through unseen vents in the earth’s crust.
I learned a lot about volcanoes that day at the Visitor Center, the most interesting thing to me is that the Hawaii hotspot sits stationary under the sea and a tectonic plate passes over the top of it. Over time, islands have been formed from west (oldest) to east (youngest). There are 8 main islands now, and geologists predict more islands forming in the future, as the volcanic hotspot is still very active. Sadly, we can see this today as activity has been constant since Kilauea erupted on May 3.
This is the way of things. This is how these beautiful islands are formed. From a geological standpoint, it is fascinating to see nature at work, but from a human standpoint, it is heartbreaking to see many people losing their homes.