New Vents in Kilauea Volcano Spout Fountains of Lava

The latest eruptions at Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii are spectacular. New vents have opened up in early July 2008 at Pu’u O’o (shown above) and Halema’uma’u. Molten lava hits the warm ocean, sending billowing plumes of smoke and sparks of rock high in the sky.

Lava is currently flowing from the Pu’u O’o vent, which is outside of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The site is east of the eastern boundary of the park and about 12 miles from the summit caldera of Kilauea.

(Pele’s Hair July 9, 2008; courtesy of Adam Burgasser)

To see the fire goddess Pele in action, Hawai`i County has opened a viewing area in Kalapana at the end of Highway 130 (the Kea`au – Pahoa bypass road; View Larger Map). Visitors may access the viewing area between 2 pm and 8 pm daily. However, vehicles must exit the area by 10 pm when the gates will be locked. For a humorous look at volcano viewing etiquette, see the post “Volcano Viewing Etiquette“.

Suggested Itinerary

Leave Hilo in the afternoon, around 4 or 5 pm, and drive south to Kalapana. There will be some local traffic through Kea’au, so just be courteous and patient.

  • Tip #1: By going later in the day, you’ll hit a little traffic, but you’ll avoid walking across the scorching sun-baked, hot, black lava beds.

Park and take the 15-minute walk across the hardened lava field by about 6 pm, just in time for “magic hour” (that gorgeous light around sunset).

  • Tip #2: Wear sturdy, closed toe walking shoes. Follow all posted safety precautions.

Plan to stay until well after dark to really see the show.

  • Tip #3: Bring a flashlight and a liter of water per person. You may also want to bring a small beach chair or mat to sit on. Lava is not easy on the tush.

Visitors may call the lava update recorded message for more information about the lava viewing area: (808) 961-8093 or visit the National Park Service website .

Got your own great photos of the volcano? Get Your FREE Photo Prints here.

Additional articles on the eruptions have been published in the area newspapers:

Additional information:

5 Responses

  1. I’ve followed your posts for quite a long time and should tell you that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

  2. Is it relatively easy to get to the lava viewing area? Do you have to take a tour to see it? Can rental cars go on the roads to get to the viewing area?

    My husband and I are coming to the Big Island May 21-25.

    Thanks
    Tracy

  3. Do you think the volcano erupting into the ocean inspired the creation of lava lamps?

    • Not sure, but that would be a cool story: Some hippie kid watching lava from Kilauea ooze into the ocean feels so inspired that he goes home and makes a table top version. Anyone know how the idea lava lamp originated?

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