Monday, January 16, 2017

La La Lava

Our cruise took us to the "Big Island" (Hawaii) where we planned to take a helicopter ride to see the lava flowing from Kilauea. It was raining and our flight was cancelled. Flights later in the day were "iffy". So, we did the next best thing; we rented a car and drove up to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We stopped and had lunch on the rim of the volcano. This was the view from our table. The size of the caldera, the crater area that looks like a barren plain, is 2-3 miles in diameter. Inside the caldera is an active area called the lava lake.

This picture (borrowed from the Park Service site)
shows the lava lake from the Jaggar Museum.
To give you an idea of the size, the lava is spewing up 10 - 12 meters.

At some point in the future, the lava lake may look like this rippled lava found at the Craters of the Moon National Preserve in Idaho. We Dreamers stopped there on a trip in 2013, and unbelievably I never put up a post about the visit. 

The name of the park is apt. The scenery does look like something out of this world. It is estimated that lava last flowed here 2000 years ago. Whoa... it obviously takes a long time for vegetation to get going again. 

Both sites had a lot of information about lava. Lava isn't all the same. The form it takes is determined by what the magma, the molten lava, is doing and how it is cooled. Here are just a few examples:

Molten lava that cools when it is ejected.
It looks like bubbles.

Pele's Hair 
Pele is the fire goddess. She is the creator of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes.
Fine strands of glass that are created when lava is thrown into the air

Pele's Tears
Small droplets of lava

Frothy pieces of lava rock

As lava flows the top begins to cool and ripples solidify.

A lava tube forms as the exterior solidifies and the interior continues to flow.

One the tube is formed, lava from later eruptions may find its way through the tube. The line on the wall of the tube shows the height of a later flow.

Kilauea's lava erupted from a vent in May, 2016 and slowly made its way to the ocean, 16 miles away. The lava began to enter the ocean in late July. Lava tubes have formed in some areas and molten lava can be seen through "skylights", as seen here. 
Photo courtesy of "The Atlantic Photo" site
This is a shot I took with my cell phone as the cruise ship went by Kamokuna, showing the lava and the cloud of water vapor mixed with sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. 

This photo from the "The Atlantic Photo" site shows the lava coming over the cliff to the ocean as seen from a tour boat.

The lava has covered sections of the road that used to run along this side of the island. Visitors may hike to Kamokuna to see the lava fields, however we Dreamers didn't have the time. To be honest, we likely would not have had the energy to make the trek. The hike is almost 8 miles over rough lava each way. But, oh, to see it up close. It certainly would be truly awesome!
Another photo courtesy of "The Atlantic Photo" site
For more pictures and information about the volcano visit:


  1. Love, love, loved this post! It speaks to my geologist's heart. I have been to both of these places, and they are among my favorite places ever!

    Thomas Jaggar's sister had a home in Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia; and Miss Jaggar took my mother under her wing and encouraged her to study and go to university. Even though my mother came from a poor family, she followed that dream and became the first to graduate from university in her family.

    I have studied Jaggar's work in volcanology and I have walked all over Volcanoes National Park, including cooling crust. I have flown on the helicopter ride over the eruption, and it was exciting to see lava crust founder and fresh lava well up; also, to see the lava flow into the ocean. We didn't have much money when I took the helicopter flight, so Terry insisted I go myself because it was a dream for me. He was waiting when I got back!

    thanks for sharing this, Dreaming!

    1. I had no clue! And, how interesting that there is a connection between Jaggar and your family.
      The helicopter ride is expensive. We debated and finally decided to go for it, as it would probably be a once in a lifetime experience. We were both disappointed when the flights were cancelled. They were only able to take one flight, and that was before we were able to get off the ship.


What thoughts do you have?

I knew I Could - Vickie's A-musings

Hi, I'm Vickie, and I just had some great fun! I earned 4 ribbons!! Sweet! Me with two of. my 4 ribbons I just knowed I could do it. I&#...