>>>Too close for comfort: Kilauea

Too close for comfort: Kilauea

The Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to both the largest and the most active volcanoes in the world.
There are 1,500 active volcanoes in the world. In the United States alone, 130 of them are being constantly monitored. Kilauea, on the island of Hawaii, is under the watchful eye of volcanologists. Considered to be the most active volcano in the world, it has a daily eruption rate of between 200,000 and 500,000 cubic metres of lava, enough to cover a 30-kilometre-long road.
Beyond its idyllic, honeymoon destination appearance, the island of Hawaii is wintess to the violent activity of five volcanoes: Kohala, the oldest on the island, Mauna Kea, whose cold climate causes the appearance of glaciers and snow in winter, and Hualalai, the third most active on the island, after Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Due to these volcanic eruptions, Hawaii, the youngest of the North American states, is the only state that is still growing.
Nahuku (also known as the Thurston Lava Tube) is a volcanic cave that is located in the heart of a lush forest.

Don’t steal from the goddess

Legend has is that whoever dares to take a rock from the Volcanoes National Park (or from any place on the island) will be cursed by the goddess Pele. Many of these rocks are usually returned by post!

You can discover the history of 70 million years of volcanism at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, located 45 minutes from the town of Hilo. This is the largest park in the state and was established in 1916 to protect the indigenous features of the ‘Big Island’, which is home to eleven of the thirteen climatic zones that exist in the world. It covers 133,546 hectares from sea level up to Mauna Loa, the highest volcano in the world. There are 240 kilometres of paths on uneven terrain that are only suitable for expert trekkers, crossing through deserts, jungles, caves, volcanic craters and streams of incandescent lava.
Mauna Loa covers over half the surface of Hawaii and holds the record for being the largest volcano in the world with a surface area of 5,271 km2 and an approximate height of 17,000 metres, including its submerged part. Although its last recorded eruption was in 1984, it’s part of the Decade Volcano programme, which is focused on the study of the most dangerous active volcanoes.
Kilauea’s eruptions have destroyed 187 homes in recent years, as well as the park’s visitors’ centre.

Mars on Hawaii

Six researchers from NASA stayed for 120 days in a module on the Mauna Loa volcano. Their mission was to simulate the extreme conditions of a stay on the red planet.

It is overshadwed on certain terms by Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world. You can also visit Kilauea, despite the fact that it has been spitting magma at around 1,093ºC continuously since 1983. “A sublime and almost appaling spectacle”. That’s how it was described by the British missionary William Ellis, the first westerner to reach its peak in 1823. This brave feat was repeated in 1866 by Mark Twain, who climbed it during an eruption.
Its outbursts of anger, according to natives, are the consquence of the mood changes of the goddess of fire, Pele. However, its violent character seems to have calmed down recently in comparison to the behaviour of most active volcanoes. Without any explosions, or clouds of toxic gases, locals can climb the volvano in order to pay their respects and make offerings to the goddess. Its eruptions are minor and most of the lava tubes empty into the Pacific, lighting up the ocean. A unique spectacle, one for which we must give thanks or ‘mahalo’ as thay say in Hawaii.
After sunset is the best time to admire the lava sliding down towards the ocean.

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