Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Ash Plume at the Summit - Kilauea Volcano going off!

Wow, Kilauea is turning a lot of heads these days. First, the new easily-viewable flows down by the ocean and now Halemaumau Crater at the summit is smoking! Amazing! For those of you who have been to the park before, this is the crater within a crater that is across from Kilauea Military Camp and seen best from Jaggar Museum. Halemaumau hasn't done this in almost 100 years! How fascinating (and a little scary) to think that this crater could start shooting lava miles into the air at any time! A few thousand people live within a few miles all around.

So, according to the local news, a few days ago the crater had a little "hiccup", shooting rocks in all directions. And since the day before yesterday, some lava is actually coming out, although it's not easily viewable.

My son and I went up yesterday afternoon and this is what we saw.

It was really cool. The road is closed after KMC because the fumes are deadly so getting to the Jaggar museum is impossible. We looked at it from the steam vents. As we drove into the parking area we could see the ash plume looming miles up in the sky. It was really neat to look at. We walked the short path to the viewing area and although you can't see lava from there, it was still very cool.

Next week is the Merrie Monarch festival, and it usually starts with a ceremony at the edge of that crater - about 50 feet from where that great ash plume starts. While we were there a group of hula dancers showed up where we were to apparently start the ceremony there instead. Double cool!

So, to recap, the lava is still flowing down at the Puna-side access road, and now, within the park is this great plume of ash and lava .. and who knows what will happen next!

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