Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

I am sure you all saw on the news back in 2018 that Kilauea lava started flowing out of Fissue 8 in Pu'uO'o and the caldera collapsed. Lava had been flowing from Kilauea from 1983 to 2018.  Here is a link to an article about what happened and the current conditions.  We drove along Highway 132 and came to a dead end as the road was closed due to the resent lava flows.  Part of highway 132 was reopened while we were there but this part shown in the photo is still closed.

A lot of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open, only a few roads, trails and sites closed.

Here is the view of Kilauea crater.

Found a great diagram to show just how much it changed after the collapse.

We drove down Crater Rim Drive to the ocean, lovely drive.  

We parked at the end and walked to the recent lava field flows ( recent being 1983- 2018). Tim and I were totally nerding out here!  My husband is a geologist and I studied geology in university ( that's how we meet) so this was a fun experience running around on new lava flows. We are use to seeing 1.9 billion year old flows in Canada that have a bit of weathering so it was fun to see them fresh!

Walking on new lava sounds like walking on fine crushed glass.  The surface is rough from all the gases escaping (vesicular texture) and those sharp edge crunch as you walk on them! This is a beautiful example of pahoehoe lave or ropy lava. You don't want to fall on this stuff!

This next picture shows the contact between lava from 1970 and 2007.  The 1970s lava from Mauna Ulu is well weathered and has a turtle shell pattern, the 2007 lava is still un-weathered. 

Here is a close up of the 1970s lava with its turtle shell weathering patterns.

All is quiet regarding lava activity on the island right now so that is why we had beautiful clear skies. I was told when the lava is flowing it can get very hazy,smoky across the island.  But I think I would be fine with the hazy if I could have gotten the change to see lava flowing off these cliffs!  Oh well, that's still on my bucket list.

Next we went to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, that will be my next post.


  1. I find it amazing that anything can grow in that brittle, hard landscape. Cheers for those hardy and persistent plants.

  2. Wow! That's amazing. Thank you for the photos. Very interesting indeed. :D

  3. Thank you so much for taking me along on your vacation!