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Hawaii Volcanoes

One of the many attractions to the big island of Hawaii is the incredible Hawaii Volcanoes and Lava flows that eventually spill into the ocean creating a volcanic steam. The volcanoes of Hawaii are a site you have to experience while visiting the tropical paradise! The volcanoes of Hawaii differ from volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. The Hawaii volcanoes, it is said, are laid back and calm, like the people. An eruption amounts to an outflowing of lava. By contrast, the Cascade chain of volcanoes, such as Mt. St. Helens, and the recently active Alaska volcanoes, have explosive natures. Size of the lava flows in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park simply stuns the imagination. Various flows, which scientists can pinpoint as to year of origin, spew over hundreds of square miles of landscape, causing a rough, newly-created appearance that can only be seen at Hawaii volcanoes.

hawaii volcano

On the Big Island of Hawaii even volcanoes seem to embody a sort of mellow volcanic aloha. Although they are among the world's most active volcanoes, they are relatively gentle and approachable (but only in designated areas!!). Radiant fountains, lava lakes and luminous streams characterize Big Island eruptions. With low lava gas contents, Hawaiian volcanoes are safer and more accessible than others. (A huge build-up of gases precipitated the catastrophic explosion of Mount St. Helens in 1980.)

The Big Island's two active volcanoes, Kilauea (spewing in Hawaiian volcanoes) and Mauna Loa (long mountain), are located on the southern half of the island. Additionally, a young submarine volcano called Loihi (elongated) is growing about 20 miles south of the Big Island. Loihi's ascending summit is currently 3,000 feet below the ocean surface. All three are shield volcanoes, with summit craters about 3 miles across. Their relative safety and accessibility has made them the most intensively studied and best understood volcanoes in the world.

hawaii volcanoes

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution -- processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.

Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been honored as an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site

The Volcano park is 209,695 acres (84,926 hectares), on Hawaii island, Hawaii; est. 1916. The park contains two of the most active volcanoes in the world— Kilauea with its fire pit, called Halemaumau, and Mauna Loa with the active Mokuaweoweo crater on its summit. The vegetation around Kilauea is varied—a few miles west of the arid Kau Desert is a lush fern jungle. Originally established as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, its name was changed in 1961 after the Haleakala portion on Maui had been made a separate national park.

The domain of Pele amounts to an enduring attraction on the Island of Hawaii. Pele is the goddess of fire, daughter of Haumea the Earth Mother and Wakea the Sky Father, who lives inside the two volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Pele is the melter of rocks, the builder of mountains, the eater of forests, the burner of lands. Within Pele are the paradoxical roles of creator and destroyer.

An appealing introduction to Pele's domain at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the Jaggar Museum, opened in early 1987 on the north rim of the Kilauea Caldera. The Museum opening coincided with the U.S. Geological Survey's Diamond Jubilee, the 75th anniversary of their volcanic observing, mapping, and surveying contribution to American life. The Museum honors Thomas A. Jaggar, a professor from MIT who founded the volcano observatory here in 1912. The Museum enriches the discovery of Pele's geologic domain for the average traveler. As you enter the Museum, a painting by famous Hawaii Volcano artist Herb Kane greets you. The painting, showing ancient Polynesians in a canoe approaching Hawaii, suggests the theme of discovery. Then the traveler goes forward, in the Museum, to make his or her own discoveries in the world of geological science and historic culture. Hawaii Volcanoes are a once in a lifetime experience!

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