I’m a sucker for a good live webcam, especially volcano-related. The Halema’uma’u crater of Kilauea volcano on Hawai’i Island was great for a few months earlier this year, then it settled down and had no more glowing lava. But very suddenly, it’s back! Webcam here:
Wow I didn’t know Halema’uma’u was hikable then. It was inaccessible when I’ve seen it, starting around 1994 I think. You’re not confusing it with Kilauea Iki, are you? I have some great shots of lava entering the ocean past the end of Chain of Craters road in 2006.
Halema’uma’u underwent big changes in 2018 when the floor collapsed and it became more than twice as wide (now about 2.5 km) and 500 meters deeper (diagram about half way down this page). When I saw it last week I was shocked at the change from the last time I saw it. It will be interesting to see what happens in this new eruption.
I’m pretty sure you are right. Kilauea Iki has long been a favorite hike. It was closed for a while between 2018 and now, but it’s open again, or was last time I was there - I don’t think they’d need to close it for this latest eruption but I don’t know how much dangerous gas is being produced or which way it blows. Halema’ema’u, on the other hand, has to my knowledge never been open since the first time I visited the Big Island in 1986.
As to the current eruption, my boyfriend’s daughter lives fairly close by and said that while she was driving in the vicinity yesterday afternoon (that’s when it started) she heard a boom and the sky changed color over the crater - I’m jealous! But maybe I’ll head down that way tonight to see the glow; I’m about a 30 minute drive from HVNP.
Yes, I walked Kilauea Iki last week. Man I am bummed about this. I flew back home from Kona yesterday. If this had happened two days earlier I could have driven up to see it. If it had happened a week earlier I would have already been in Volcano National Park; I was renting a house a mile from the park entrance.
Just got back from a viewing trip. We went at 3:30 am so as to avoid traffic and crowds. The glow is spectacular! It’s hard to see much detail (you don’t get a close-up picture like the webcam or the fly-by drones provide) but the immensity of the orange glow is awe-inspiring.
Someone would have to be insane, lucky, and break through a lot of barriers to get that close - they’d probably be overcome by fumes and heat before they got to the crater’s edge. Not that I’d put it past people to try. I’m surprised they don’t have more fatalities at the Park. (I think I read a while ago that the State of Hawai’i is #1 in the country in the number of tourist deaths, though that’s mostly because of drowning, not volcano-related incidents.)
When I walked out to see the lava stream entering the ocean in 2006, the rangers told us that the previous day some idiot had ignored the warning signs and barriers, and walked out onto a newly formed lava bench, which collapsed and killed him.
Two weeks ago, I was hiking into a 25 mph headwind, which was blowing hail horizontally. It was 40°, I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, and I was questioning my life choices.
Then I crossed a small ridge and looked up at a river of glowing lava pouring in a great flow off the Fagradalsfjall volcano, gradually filling the Geldingadalir valley below. Walked along the lava bed, enjoying the heat from the rock. Picked up some chunks containing Pele’s tears - unlike Hawai’i, Iceland permits taking souvenirs. Smelled the gasses coming off the volcano.
How beautiful, @Slow_Moving_Vehicle. That sounds profoundly meaningful. One of those, “if my life really does pass before my eyes when I die, this is going to be a featured scene” moments.
ETA: And as long as I’m posting … one thing I don’t quite understand is how the crater can look like there is little to no red lava during the day, and yet be incandescent at night. Like right now - it’s daytime, and at the moment you can see one little hotspot of red glow. But if it were night - the whole crater would be aglow with bright fissures. I mean, I get that the glow is going to be more visible at night, but the fact it is almost invisible during the day is strange.
Thanks for the kind words. Yes, it was one of more amazing experiences of my life. Discourse wouldn’t let me post any of the photos I took, but I was there in the day and the lava was glowing red and unmistakable.
That could have been me, back in '91. Beyond the “do not enter” sign, I had to cross a good distance of very unstable rocks, and places where my sneakers seemed to be melting. Not sure whether I’d do it today, but it was worth it back then. And yes, it glows A LOT more at night.
By the way, just in case people are looking at the web cam during the day and going “huh? this is underwhelming,” here is a screen grab of how it looks right now (about 8:15 Friday night, Hawaii time).
It’s not a stratovolcano, so it’s not explosive or anything. But I think it’s pretty cool.