Thursday, February 24, 2022

Hawaii's volcanoes attract worldwide audience of curious tourists

On a blustery but sunny day at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano, Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie"
  Meyers take a selfie against the eerie but beautiful landscape of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 

Volcanoes formed the landscape and are still active.


The Kilauea Volcano in all its glory.
                                        photo courtesy Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


HAWAII'S ACTIVE volcanoes are constantly causing a stir on The Big Island, where locals are ready for steam, smoke and fire at any time.  

Volcano and earthquake hazards occur regularly, so that is always on the mind of the people.

Tourists -- including the two of us travel writers and photographers -- make it a point to have a look at these wonders of nature whenever we're in the area. The island's jet-black lava fields, white sand and snowy mountains make a photographer's dream, with hiking trails across a lunar-like landscape, and viewpoints to show it all off.

Pele, goddess of volcanoes and fire, is the star of a spectacular
 sound and light show at Smith Family Garden Luau.

SINCE THE Hawaiian Islands were born of lava flows, it's not surprising that volcanoes are still part of the landscape.  They have long been part of the islands' lore as well.
The native Hawaiians revere Pele, goddess of fire and volcanoes, and honor her in sound and light shows across the islands. 
The most spectacular one is fittingly on  The Big Island,  where two of the world's most active volcanoes are found.
In a dramatic musical story Pele comes alive as the volcano puts on a show at Smith Family Garden Luau.  The creation of the island is dramatically told. 
 So whether one believes in pure science, or the revered Pele myth, plate tectonics met the goddess with fire, light and dramatic sound effects. In the show, Pele rises above the mountains to create one of the world's most majestic landscapes.
SINCE KILAUEA and Maunaloa volcanoes are both found here, there are national parks to give visitors the updated story and a chance to survey the ever changing landscape.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is about an hour from Hilo on the east side of the island, or two and one-half hours from Hilton Waikoloa Village on the western side of the island.
Image result for volcanoes on big island background
Looking much like forest fire damage, its
possible you might see the volcano burn
   Maunaloa last erupted at its summit, in March of 1984. A series of fissures subsequently opened along the Northeast Rift Zone, feeding lava flows that came to within 17 km (11 miles) of Hilo Bay in 5 days. The eruption ended on April 15. Kilauea's last eruption was 1983 with others occurring sporadically into 2018. That last major eruption in 2018 destroyed more than 700 homes and displaced thousands of residents.
Other volcanoes on Hawaii Island include: Maunakea, Hualalai, and Kohala.
Our homework revealed that between 1912 and 2012, there were nearly 50 Kīlauea eruptions and 12 Mauna Loa eruptions.Park officials say the summit eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, has continued with minor fluctuations in lava output. Its active lava lake was estimated to be 89 meters (292 feet) when lava emerged on Sept. 29, 2021, not that long ago.

Informative guides give lively, scientific
information on the volcanic action at
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

IT IS NEVER possible to predict the exact date and time of an eruption. Our naturalist guide told us, "Because these are active volcanoes, we can't say when they might blow again." Geophysical measurements indicate that Maunaloa's magma storage system has been recharging since the 1984 eruption. Since 2019, there have been signs of elevated unrest, but the next Maunaloa eruption doesn't appear imminent, our guide added.Hawaii has many remarkable features, including that Maunaloa is the largest active volcano on Earth. She covers an impressive half of the island, rising to 4,170 meters (13,681 feet) above sea level. Her long submarine flanks descend 5 km (3 miles) below sea level to the ocean floor.

MAUNALOA, like Kiluea, has a summit caldera and two active rift zones extending from its summit. Eruptions vary from short- to long-lived, and occur at the summit, or radial vents on her north and western flanks. Mauna Loa eruptions can begin with little warning, producing intense lava flows traveling long distances in short periods of time. Villages on the flanks of the volcano are naturally impacted.

These tourists admire the landscape of steam and smoke
at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island
THE FASTEST high-volume eruption from Mauna Loa began on June 1, 1950, when fissures opened from the uppermost Southwest Rift Zone, generating a ferocious lava flow that traveled 15 miles, reaching the ocean in less than three hours, shutting down the highway in three places.
Hawaii is at the southeast end of a chain of volcanoes that began forming more than 70 million years ago. Each island is made of one or more volcano which erupted on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, emerging above sea level only after countless eruptions. Six volcanoes collaborated over a million ears to create The Big Island.
 ENTRANCE to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with its excellent visitor center is $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, $15 per pedestrian or bicyclist. The receipt allows entry for seven days. We happily used our national park senior passes, obtained a few years ago in Yellowstone National Park and much used across the U.S.

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers enjoy a
sunny autumn day in Yellowstone National Park.
:  Speaking of volcanoes, we're marking a very special birthday this week.  It's the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, a world wonder, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Caldera, or Supervolcano. The park's wonder are enjoyed each year by millions of visitors from around the globe.  Although it's mostly in Wyoming, we Montanans claim it, too, and are proud to have three of the five entrances. We'll celebrate this living treasure with Bruce Keller's award-winning photos and a lively look at our visits to this wonderful place. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh look at travel, nature, the arts, family, loss, love and


  1. Omaha Arm Chair TravelersFebruary 24, 2022 at 10:33 PM

    Fire and fun -- love the spin on history and volcanic lore

  2. Charleston Park LoversFebruary 25, 2022 at 4:32 PM

    Wow! I would love to see these volcanoes..... from a safe distance. So cool, and great to make use of our wonderful national park passes.