Hawai'i - The Big Island

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Kiluea Caldera, with Mauna Loa in background.

Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook
Through pass in background is Kilauea Caldera and Mauna Loa

At the bottom of Kilauea Iki Crater, standing on a lake of frozen lava.

Brian and I hiked from the end of Chain of Craters Road to the point where the Pu'u 'O'o lava flow enters the sea. The hike covers some rugged lava flows. In many places the ground is heaved upwards as shown here. As the lava flows at different rates and temperatures, it seems to take on every conceivable shape.

The steam plume created by the lava entering the sea is visible from miles away. As we approached, we could finally see the point where the steam was being generated. From this angle though, the point where the lava is actually entering the sea is obscured by the steam.

We circled to the upwind side of the steam plume, and got a little closer (to within 200 yards). At times, when the waves receded and the steam subsided a bit, we could see lava pouring into the sea. Quite frequently we saw explosions like this, sending cinders and glowing, molten lava into the air.

At the point where this picture was taken the ground had several cracks. As it got dark we could see that at the bottom of those cracks (8-12 inches down) the rock still glowed a dull red. The ground we were standing on was not very old! This also reminded us that while walking from one side of the plume to the other, we walked over an active lava tube (lava flowing underground).

After sunset the steam was lit by the glowing lava. Since I did not have a camera with me that could take long exposures, I've had to recreate the scene using the pictures I did take and some digital magic. An overview of how this was done is shown on another page.


Enjoying lunch overlooking Rainbow Falls:
tamales (chicken, tofu), lomi (tomato, salmon, onion),
bento box lunch (grilled chicken, spam, etc.),
poi (mashed, fermented taro root), star fruit, guava.

Later that day, at Akaka Falls



Hiking in the hills above Honolulu

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Created: 28 Dec 1998
Updated: 05 Jun 1999