50 States/50 Countries-Big Island Hawaii

PICT1545 (2)The 50th State…the big island of Hawaii…Volcano National Park. You’ve heard about it in the news, the recent eruption of Kilauea, homes destroyed, people evacuated. The destructive power of molten lava. Thought you might enjoy a tour in more peaceful time and learn more about this force of nature.PICT1500There are three main volcanoes on the big island (six all together), Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea, the most active, has a fire pit called Halemaumau. This is where most eruptions occur, but a vent can open up anywhere in this region.PICT1585 (2) You can see the steam, feel the heat, and smell the sulfur…truly Hell on Earth.PICT1577 (2)

Mauna Kea (tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor) is dormant for now and is high enough it gets snow in winter and you can ski on it when it does. Volcano National Park is located near Kilauea.PICT1584 (2)Look close and you can see the Park’s lodge sitting right on the crater’s edge…and yes, they have had to evacuate but the Volcano House has never been destroyed. http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/PICT1578 (2)PICT1574 (2)Walking through the crater…PICT1579 (2)PICT1569 (2)PICT1588 (2)Halemaumau…the fire pit!PICT1587 (2)Lava Flows after it cools….PICT1583 (2)When hot lava hits trees, the wood burns to ash, but the sap in the tree can cool the lava enough to leave strange formations…a forest of “lava” trees…PICT1597 (2)PICT1598 (2)As the lava heads toward the sea the outer portion of  the flow can start to congeal, creating a lava tube.PICT1573 (2)Inside Thurston Lava Tube…PICT1592 (2)Finally when the lava does reach the sea, it cools down to large chunks of volcanic rock which wears down over time from the ocean waves to create Hawaii’s famous black beaches…PICT1590 (2)The big island is still growing and every time there is an eruption, it creates more land. The rich volcanic soil (in due time) is perfect for growing things and plants, trees do come back eventually other than in the crater itself…

Aloha & happy travels!  Rich

 

 

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