Tropical Topics, Big Island Edition: The Volcano

My Hawaiian bloggage climaxes with a volcano post.


Kīlauea is currently the world's most active volcano and, ironically, also the world's most visitor-friendly. Alas, we did not visit the lava flows.


Halema'uma'u Crater, venting sulfur dioxide. (The sound in the clip is wind, not the volcano.)

Park officials closed Crater Rim Drive past the Jaggar Museum due to high volcanic gas levels, so we went no further than this.


Instead, we took a short walk on the Kīlauea Iki trail.


The lava lake at the bottom of this crater was formed in 1959. The surface has cooled such that it can be walked on, but the lava still roils several meters beneath.

Kilauea Iki

Steam vents moisturize forests of giant tree ferns growing around the caldera.


By now you must know that I'm always ready to show you pictures of tree ferns... These are Sadleria sp., a Hawaiian endemic. The Hawaiian name is Hāpu'u.




Hot rocks at the bottom of deep fissures vaporize trickling groundwater. Hence, steam vents.

The lady allegedly responsible for all of this is Pele. She lives in the Halema'uma'u crater, above. According to legend, Pele appears as a beautiful young woman in the mountains and an old, ugly woman at the shore. We didn't see her on this trip.


Maybe next time.


Anonymous said...

What a great trip. Thanks for the volcano visit. Very cool, I mean, hot.

I flew over a bubbling-with-mud volcano cone in a little twin-prop plane at the end of that Tanzanian safari I went on a few years ago, and it was mighty impressive. And terrifying.

I'm glad you didn't get any closer to this one.

Christopher C. NC said...

Pele's hair is really quite dramatic. Halema'uma'u must have been venting big time if they wouldn't let you get right up to the edge. I never saw it do that. Mostly just wispy stuff along the edges of the larger Kilauea crater.

All the activity was at the lava flows from Pu'u O'o vent that buried the neighborhood.

CiNdEe's GaRdEn said...

I am really enjoying your tour. I will probably never get to see it in person so I really appreciate you taking time to post your pictures and updates! I can't wait to see the next adventure(-:

lisa said...

That was fun! I've never been anywhere near a volcano, and with the health warnings and my asthma I probably never will. Such beautiful scenery.