A tale of two lava lakes, of a landscape altered in way so dramatic it is hard to comprehend.
We think of solid rock being the ultimate in permanency, something about the world that should never change, at least in the span of a few months. Geologic change takes thousands of years, not less than one, it just seems wrong when this rule is violated.
Places we once stood, or parked a car, a hiking trail across a plain of solid rock… All gone in a dramatic upheaval. A parking lot the lies upon a block of rock the size of a supertanker, sitting hundreds of feet below where I once parked the car. Change is the reality of an active volcano.
I have seen change on this scale once before when Mt. St. Helens removed a mountain top that stood upon the horizon of childhood memory. Here at Kilauea the change was a bit slower, but no less dramatic.
I look across that caldera and note the places that are the same, the places that are gone. I may understand what has happened and how, but still some parts of my mind insist that this just cannot be true… Solid rock should not disappear or crumble like a cookie.
The return of lava to the crater seems like a return of normalcy. There was lava here for years, there should be lava here. Perhaps the lava will cover over that yawning pit that should not be. Fill the yawning chasm that affronts my senses so.
Perhaps, if the crater continues to fill, flooded to the rim with new lava, a new caldera floor will form, the cycle complete. Perhaps it may be possible to once again walk across the floor of Kilauea Caldera.
The lava burst forth from the crater wall just before Christmas. After two years of quiet the volcano has again erupted. Within hours the lake of water that had been slowly growing had been boiled away in a huge plume of steam.
I knew within minutes that an eruption had begun, tapped into the island grapevine. While I considered making a midnight run across island I had to bow to the needs of life and regretfully went to bed.
Now well into the new year I finally had a chance to photograph the new lava lake.Continue reading “Visiting the New Lake”
Just before Halloween 2016 I took this photo of lava dripping over the cliff at Kamokuna. Was immediately struck by how much it looked like some giant hand with severed fingers, dripping lava blood into the sea.
On June 3rd, 2018 Deb and I flew over the ongoing eruption of Kilauea. It seems so long ago, it seems like yesterday.
We looked down on a broad flow front, over a mile wide. The flow burning through orchid farms and papaya orchards, destruction that was painful to watch.
We looked down on a lava fountain hundreds of feet high. Fissure 8 was supplying a river of lava that spelled doom for Kapoho Bay and the beautiful tidepools at Waiʻopae.
A year later the lava is still cooling and the community is still rebuilding. Kilauea is quiet with no lava on the surface anywhere. We wonder where the next eruption will be.