Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Active Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii

While I was on the Big Island of Hawaii, I took a helicopter flight over the active volcano of Kilauea, part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Here you can see the smoking caldera.
This is a closer view of the volcano crater rim and the smoke from the eruption, which has been active since 1983. In 1958, a fiery eruption shot lava 1,900 feet (580 meters) into the air. If you enlarge this photo, you will see the tents of the scientists.
This shows the active lava flow. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see several rivers of red lava exposed underneath the gray crust that has cooled on the surface. Most of the lava flow from Kilauea volcano is slow moving and does not pose a danger to careful visitors.
Here is another view that shows the flow of the river of lava working its way from the crater towards the sea.
Where lava has met the sea long ago, beautiful black sand beaches have been created by the pounding waves.
Past lava flows have now been covered with vegetation, the first step towards reforestation when the lava is broken down over time from rock into fertile soil.
If you look closely, you can see a house, where someone still lives, in the center of this photo. The house was cut off from the outside world when the lava flowed on both sides of this house. After the lava cooled, the resident was able to cross the lava field to live in his house.
This photo shows where the lava flow meets the ocean and enlarges the island. The big island of Hawaii is the newest of the Hawaiian islands, as it is still growing. The chain of islands were formed from Northwest to Southeast, making Hawaii and Maui the two most recently formed islands, and Kauai and Oahu older and without as recent volcanic activity. Note the house still standing in the lava field.

My husband, David, lived on Oahu as a child, as his father was a U.S. Naval Officer. To go to elementary school in 1961 - 63, he took a Navy bus to a boat dock, rode in an open air Navy boat across Pearl Harbor to Hickam Air Force Base, caught an Air Force bus to a bus terminal in downtown Honolulu, then transferred to a city bus to his school near Waikiki. It was two hours each way, and this has become his version of the hardships told by some people about walking miles through the snow to go to school as children. It is hard to feel sorry for someone who grew up one block from the beach in Hawaii.

9 comments:

JM said...

Such fantastic views! The first shot is simply amazing! Great post!

brattcat said...

Beautifully documented lava cycle here.

Memphis MOJO said...

They're all nice, but I especially like the fifth one down where the lava meets the ocean -- spectacular.

lavapix said...

Hi, Just want to clarify a few facts for you on the photos. Looks like maybe you took these in summer of 2007. The first image isn't Kilauea's caldera. Its Puu Oo vent. The second photo isn't tents. Those are remote cameras. That vent didn't exist in 1958. That was Kilauea Iki in 59. 3 and 4 looks like fissure D in mid 2007. Those flows were large and dangerous. #7 is a B&B. Most everything east of it is now gone. I was just up there last night and today. New flows are on his street but, at a slightly lower elevation. Fire may get him soon. The last photo. That was to be a house but, he built it on state land by accident. He took the beams down but, a lava flow covered the area before he could finish. 2 years of flows have buried the 10' high pillars. People were rebuilding on the 91-92 lava flows. I know all of this because I have been hiking and photographing this volcano since 1991. Can't help myself correcting facts :-)
Bryan

PAK said...

The volcanos photos are maginificent!

glenda said...

These are really neat photos. I especially like the one where the house for some reason was spared.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Stunning pictures in all respects.

Steffe said...

wow. looks amazing.

Nihal said...

Great article! Thanks for this well-planned, and safe Hawaii aerial journey:)

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