Kilauea volcano, on the island of Hawaii, will mark 30 continuous years of eruption next month. It has been a relatively gentle eruption that has made it easy to study in relative safety. This week, I was able to join a group and hike out to where the lava flows into the ocean. The hike, over bumpy frozen lava, was 2½ miles (4 km) and took about 2 hours each way; we stayed out at the point where the lava flowed into the ocean for about an hour before hiking back.
It was incredible! We were able to get right up to the lava, but it was hot! After just a few seconds, we had to back away a a few feet. And you have to poke a stick in it! Best of all was watching the lava flow into the ocean. Sometimes, pieces of lava fall into the ocean and you watch them float out to sea while they are still burning.
There is something about lava that reaches deep inside. It feels like a link to the creation of the world; a reminder that change is a constant.
This link is to a video I created of the experience. On a side note, this video (my first) is also my final ‘exam’ for the Photoshop class I am taking at the University of Hawaii Windward campus.
At Science Camps of America this June, we hope a hike to see the lava will be a part of Science Camp; however, we won’t know if we will be able to do so until it is time for camp, as conditions are constantly changing.
It was an amazing experience – if you ever are on the Big Island and have the chance, don’t miss it!