Kilauea Reprise

Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island start erupting again last night. Its most recent previous eruption lasted for decades before ending in 2018. Nobody knows how long this new eruption might last, but it is certainly an interesting development for us geoscience nerds, not to mention nearby residents, and, of course, tourists.

My family and I were fortunate to visit Kilauea twice during its previous eruption, once in 2002 and again in 2004. I promised to post some fun stuff from time to time, so here are a few photos from those two visits. I was shooting with my very first digital camera, a rather primitive Olympus point-and-shoot with a pretty good zoom lens, having just made the transition from a Nikon SLR that shot film.

Entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I try to remember to photograph signs to help remember where I was taking photos, not that I have visited all that many volcanoes!
Lava cascading down the slope in the distance during our 2002 visit. We were perhaps a mile away from the action, and you can see some of the smoke and fumes contributing to the haze.
A much closer view of lava oozing out of cracks in the flow, again during our 2002 visit. The red molten area in the middle of the view is perhaps a foot wide by 10 feet long, more or less. The ground was hot, and we smelled scorching rubber. Then we realized our shoes were cooking! I should add that Dorcas discovered how to trick the rest of the tourists. Dump a little of our drinking water into a hot crack, and it exploded into noisy steam, making everyone within earshot jump!
Closer view of oozing lava, flowing with the consistency of toothpaste. This hot flow was up to a foot wide and about 4-6 feet long. We didn’t want to stick around; it was too hot!

The previous photos came from our 2002 visit; in 2004 we were fortunate to be able to walk within camera range of the lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The lava cascades you see are perhaps 5-6 feet high. Very striking to be able to walk on new land that was only weeks old!

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