Kilauea is known for its fountains of lava and lava fluids entering the ocean through lava tubes. But what if red volcanic activity may have in its dynamic eruptive much more violent and dangerous during phreatomagmatic or phreatic eruptions. This dynamism phreatomagmatic occurs simply when a large volume of lava enters the ocean. The plume of water vapor that escapes from the coast then leaves room for dark explosions. But this is nothing to what happens sometimes (5 times semnble you it in 1000 years) at Kilauea summit: without this volcano lava dome may issue a kind of "pyroclastic" hot gas following a very violent phreatomagmatic eruption.
According to Hawaiian legends, Hawaii's Big Island is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. For many years Pele shaped and formed her new abode, using red-hot lava to create her unique fortress. Early Hawaiians respected and honored Pele, and made offerings to please her or placate her wrath. Today Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) is the country's 13th National Park and our state's #1 visitor attraction. It was created to preserve the regions unique volcanic features, its early human history and the plant and animal life that is part of this special bioregion.
HVNP is located 30 miles southwest of Hilo and 96 miles southeast of Kona. It's open year-round, 24 hours a day. Once inside the park, you will experience life and growth and creation of the most amazing kind. Make your first stop the Kilauea Visitor Center at the park's entrance. Chat with the rangers, get an update on the current flow conditions and pick up safety tips. Then begin your journey into one of the most fascinating and awesome regions on earth. Some of the sites, many of which are on Crater Rim Drive, are the Jagger Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube, Volcano House, Halema'uma'u Crater Overlook, steam vents, and sulphur banks, just to name a few.
A hike down to the current lava flow offers a once in a lifetime chance to view Mother Nature at work up close. Kilauea is the world's most active volcano. The current eruption began January 3, 1983 and is the largest and longest eruption in history. There is no indication when she will stop. The best way to view the lava flow on land is to drive to the new lava viewing area at the end of Highway 130. This is outside the HVNP and will take approximately one hour for the drive from the park to the parking area. Then be prepared for a two mile round trip hike over rugged lava. Wear comfortable walking shoes (sandals or slippers are NOT recommended), bring water, a light jacket and if you're planning on nighttime viewing, a flashlight is a must. Use caution and common sense and traverse only where designated. Many visitors have told us they cannot put into words the feelings and emotions they experience when viewing this most spectacular phenomenon. This is one memory you will carry with you for years to come.
The Park entrance station is just off Hwy 11, 96 miles south-east of Kona and 30 miles south-west of Hilo. Keep right onto Crater Rim Drive for Kilauea visitor center in 0.3 mile.