Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 | All Things, Travel

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and the most popular attraction on the Big Island, offering a glimpse of landscapes unseen anywhere else. From desolate stretches of volcanic rock and ash to lush green rainforests, from oozing lava to belching clouds of sulfur and hissing steam, it’s a tangible reminder of how actively the Earth continues to evolve.

Since a small eruption in March, the Halema`uma`u Crater has been spewing clouds of sulfur dioxide gas into the air resulting in the partial closure of Crater Rim Drive:

Steam forced to the surface when rainwater seeps into the ground, meeting with hot rock below:

In 1959, an eruption in KÄ«lauea Iki Crater shot fountains of lava over 1100 feet high, blanketing this area along what is now known as the Devastation Trail. The patches of vegetation are the result of land left to regenerate on its own, as a kind of experiment.

Thurston Lava Tube — an approximately 500 year old cave-like channel formed when slow-moving lava developed a hardened upper crust, forming a roof above the still-flowing lava stream. This segment of the tube is lit (another 1000 feet — open to the public, but blocked off by a chain link gate — is not), with ferns the only vegetation, sprouting up around the edges of the lights.

Check out the rest of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park photos on flickr.

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