a short story about volcanoes for middle school students

Keoni gazed up in awe at the immense volcano before him. Kīlauea - the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and creator of the islands. At 14 years old, he had lived his whole life in the shadow of the continuously active volcano. Yet today, something felt different.

The usual wisps of steam rising from the caldera were instead black plumes of ash and smoke. The ground rumbled beneath Keoni's feet as he stood at the viewpoint overlooking the summit. Suddenly, a loud explosion boomed from deep within the volcano. Keoni watched in shock as red hot lava burst forth, shooting high into the air.

He knew he needed to get far away, fast. Living here, Keoni was used to Kīlauea's eruptions. But this was much worse than normal. The volcanic gases burned his nose and throat as he ran back down the trail towards home. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw fingers of luminous lava creeping down the volcano's flank.

Keoni's heart pounded. Adrenaline coursed through his veins. Back at the house, he yelled to his family that they had to evacuate immediately. His mom gathered his baby sister while his dad grabbed the emergency bags they always kept ready.

They piled into the truck and sped down the road away from the eruption. All around them, their neighbors did the same. In the rear window, Keoni watched his home disappear from view, unsure if he'd ever see it intact again.

Thick plumes of smoke now billowed from cracks in the ground. The road buckled and heaved beneath them. His dad swerved around deepening pits opening up as lava tubes collapsed below the surface. It was a obstacle course just to get to safety.

After what seemed like hours, they finally reached the evacuation center at the nearby high school. Keoni hugged his mom and sister, relieved they made it out unharmed. His dad went to offer help, while Keoni wandered outside to stare up at the erupting volcano in the distance.

Kīlauea was a force way more powerful than him. She could destroy anything in her path. Yet she had also created this island he called home. Keoni realized that sometimes things that seem frightening are part of nature's grand design. 

After much time had passed, Keoni decided to begin a deeper investigation. He used the map below to launch part of his studies before visiting the USGS website for more detailed information on his volcanoes and many others.

Educational resource reference: NGSS:MS-ESS3-1 – Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are result of past and current geoscience processes.

Tags: geocomic earth geology volcano volcanoes tectonic plates lava magma FK8