Pele’s Playground

Today I am significantly increasing my odds of death by vulcanism, which brings up the inevitable question, what caliber for shield volcanoes? On the summit of Kilauea right now, actually. Staying a bit farther down her slopes tonight at a bed and breakfast. The lava pokery options are not very good right now, as there are no surface eruptions. Right now there’s only vent activity at the crater, and Kilauea’s piping is carrying lava underground and out to sea. A day of hiking, and hopefully not firey death, ahead.

6 thoughts on “Pele’s Playground”

  1. Take the drive down to the coastal vent. You can park and get reasonably close to the lava there.

  2. “what caliber for shield volcanoes?”

    H-bombs. I heard it helps if you cover them with frozen space aliens first. Or maybe not. That might have caused more trouble than it was worth.

  3. We were on Hawaii last week. From Volcano, follow Rt. 11 North to Rt. 130 a few miles before Hilo in Keaau, the Keaau – Pahoa Rd. Take 130 all the way to the end. There is a parking area that’s open between 2 PM and 8 PM, with the last car out at 10 PM. From the parking area you can then walk to “the end of the road”, where they have a cordon. The “authorities” won’t let you get near where the lava is actually flowing into the ocean, but great clouds of steam can be observed from anywhere in the area. Up hill from the road and the cordon you can observe areas where smoke is emanating from the near surface lava flow. DON’T BOTHER GOING DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, you’ll be badly disappointed. Plan on arriving at the parking near sunset, say 1/2 hour before. Once twilight comes, you should begin to be able to see areas where the lava is close enough to the surface that an orange to red glow may be seen. Enjoy, there’s nothing like real time geology in action. We (my wife and I) were there in 1998 and the flow then, a few miles further south along the coast, was spectacular. This time around, not so much, but it’s still way interesting. This was our daughter’s first trip to Hawaii and I wish that she could have seen what we saw in ’98.

  4. We walked out in moonscape during the daytime, following the reflective patches to a point where there was a vent – the ground was very hot and suddenly it burped-up a Volkswagen sized goober. Lava is weird, it builds-up as many times as the semi-liquid stuff flows down – it doesn’t always do what you expect in terms of physics. After seeing a few more stone-sofas barfed-up we took the hike back.
    The blasted landscape of twisted rock formations is most awesomely surreal and deserves the hike all by itself.

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