After a two-year hiatus Kilauea volcano has come back again with a vengeance recently with display of steam, ash and gas thrust height into the night sky. The active lava emerging and coming down the sides of the caldera and mixing in with the water created large steam plumes rising over 30,000 feet above Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Vivid displays of yellow, orange and red mixed in with the plumes to illuminate the night sky and creating a frenzy of admirers with locals and visitors coming down into the national park to view the recent eruptions and steam clouds. Even though the lava isn’t visible directly from any of the viewing platforms, the fiery red glow and steam clouds eerily blowing up the sky create an amazing display, especially at night time when the red and orange colors are vivid and streak bright colors combined with steam and gas into the dark skies. Lava eruptions at Volcanoes National Park is stirring more interest in visiting the park again recently with recent activity in the caldera.
Volcanoes National Park has been relatively quiet the past two years prior to a destructive and expansive lava intrusions into the lower Puna district above land and in hidden lava tubes only to enter into subdivisions and demolishing entire neighborhoods in no time. In face over 700 homes burned to the ground from Pahoa area all the way down to the ocean.
Visiting Volcanoes National Park for the current lava eruptions
The entire island was startled with major rumblings and earthquakes that were felt on the entire island with the largest at 4.4 registered late into the evening on Sunday night. This quickly set the volcano at Kilauea ablaze with a plume of lava, ash and steam into the sky and awakening the caldera which had been silent for over two year. A steady stream of visitors started to enter the park to witness the spectacular display of blazing yellows, oranges and red steam and smoke from the lava entering the caldera known as Halemaʻumaʻu crater.
Ho’okupu to Pele
It seems that the Hawaiian goddess Pele is awake again in midst of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Special tributes and offerings of Ho’okupu where place at the time in her honor in unexpected places along the rim of the caldera for her to enjoy. Culture and tributes the Hawaiian ancestor were in full display along with the many admirers of this natural event. It is beautiful to see the mutual respect and tributes by followers and other admirers of the goddess with these colorful leis, fresh flowers, tropical fruits and other ho’okupu to Pele.
Visiting the park to view eruptions
The best time to actually view the fiery displays are at night time and dusk to capture the change in daylight gives a different perspective to seeing the plumes before it gets dark. Entrance to the park and parking is busy at dusk now around 6 PM, so plan ahead to secure parking and also follow social distancing measures which is mandatory along with wearing masks in the park. You can check out the park service website here for more details.
There are many viewing areas to see this and other hiking spots that you can go to get a view of the explosions. You can visit the welcome center to talk with rangers on the best places to visit without the hassle of parking and viewing.
Hike the trails for different viewings of the Eruption at Kilauea
If you are looking for more adventure experiences in the day time or night, why not go for a hike around the park. The best places for viewing and hiking with caldera and eruptions views would be the Crater Rim trail which is a 3 mile hike loop and the Kilauea Iki Trail. You can also hike from the Steam vent areas closer to the observation viewing point with many viewing spots around the caldera rim to see the eruption during the day time and night.
Other hikes that have some views to Kilauea and the eruptions as an option with less crowds include the Devastation trail and the Sulpher banks with a fantastic view of the crater from above around the hula stand area.
Night time visits and viewing at Volcanoes National Park
It is very popular and busy to visit the park during the dusk to evening time frame. Expect more traffic and waiting for parking and viewing the lava plumes. Do plan on going earlier so you can secure a parking spot and viewing area with social distancing. You might want to consider going on a hike to offset the parking issues around the various viewing platforms that will be very busy.
Updated news to the lava eruptions at Volcanoes National Park
Scientists at the park do not know how long the eruptions will last but have issued an advisory for all the falling ash and sulfur dioxide which is an irritant to eyes and respiratory conditions. They advise to always have a mask on during a visit for this and also for social distancing measures due to the Covid epidemic.
Check out the latest from the NSGS videos to the eruptions at Kilauea
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