occasion of a journey to the Hawaii archipel it's always
a good idea for volcanically interested to visit at least
for a short time Big Island. There,
in one of the most active volcanic zones of the earth
activity is actually always present. Unfortunately
during my attendance in spring 2002 the entire activity
decreased to the limit for the Pulama Pali region on the
at present only active crater
Pu'u'O'o. Around this areal and to reach the flows it
requires good local knowledge and watchfulness. In this
highly situated area a durable prohibitation exists,
pretendly with the reason of the very dangerous area.
Prohibitions like this mostly exist keeping tourists away
and really doesn't explane
anything over possibly material dangers. Therefore I
decided at the 25.4.2002, to take the way more than 10 km
alone to the Puu Oo.
all the Pulama Pali showed that the area became indeed dangerous.
Not in case of the
certainly existing lava and all kind of anorganic steams althought of the particularly fragile Pahoehoe crust. This
breakable surface covers the whole area and I broke through under
each third to tenth step. The caves in the lava layer were deep up
to 2 meters and in addition, the small cavities can destroy
by inevitable breaking through the trousers and your legs
and ancles. Therefore my way ended a few hundred meters before
the P'u'u'O'o cone between an 'active' Aa- lava flow and some new
fresh Pahoehoe breakups, between the existing Rootless Shields
which collected the entire lava in former times and kept
the coastal region free of lava over a long time.
strong nocturnal heavy rain showers shattered the planned bivouac
(a tent didn't participate anyway in the over packed
rucksack ). Therefore I decided in the humid condition a
night stomping lasting for several hours on a numerous of Aa lava
fields. In contrast of the day, the lava - specials become visible
when you are already stiking inside and you aren't able to
surround them any more. Descending the light declining plane I
arrived approximately at 3 o'clock in the morning. But I managed
it ' fabulous ' that in the wide laminar gently dropping area I had to
climb downward the only steep stage with its fragile edge of 10
meters before the coastal plain to reach my place.
left: Before the emergence of the W.Highcastle entrance. Picture right: Pahoehoe on 25.4. south.of the
was a 'Skylight' which was visible already from the
distance at night. Through these openings you can have a view to
the underground lava stream hidden in tunnels. Note: the better,
although further way ( in any case 2-day route ) to the Puu Oo is
the western trail over the Napau-crater.
moon-lit Pahoehoe field south of the Puu Oo at 25.4.03
After the rough and not
productive tour in spring 2002 I decided spontaneously to fly
again to Big Island, because (surprise!!) a few days after the 25.4. a
large new developing lava stream took directly course to the
coast and the lava touched over months the sea. Because of
ordering short term flights to Hawaii with enormously financial
hurdles, I had to wait until September. Punctually at the end of
August every lava flow stopped entering the sea at Willipe'a..
Fortunately the most western
entrance named Willipe'a began to reactivate, and so I could observe
in the evening of the 15.9.2002 directly at the end of the chain OF
Craters Road the beautiful sea entrance. A further stroke of luck
was that the individual points of entrance could be seen only from
the east. In addition the still steaming lava field with active lava tunnels had to be exceeded and this natural
barrier held back the numerous tourists at the road ending behind
the shut-off positions and permitted an unimpaired observing in
2 pictures left:
Willipe'a of entrances in the evening of the 15.9. Right: Highcastle
handful photographers, who recorded daily the situation for the
HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Organisation) were only in the early morning
present. A particularly impressive experience of a new sea
entrance happened at the Western Highcastle a few hundred meters
further east. In the same evening a small lava cascade ran over
the old 7 meter high old steep cliff to the lower plateau
before the surf zone.
Pahoehoe lava south of. Puu Oo to 25.4.
2nd and 3rd attendance in the morning of the 17.9. and 18.9.02 the
new entrance was already in sea contact. The Willipe'a multiple
entrances with some small changes seemed steady active.
Unfortunately the last entrance could be observed only from the
distance because you weren't able to get the insight from the
cliff because underneath the waves did stroke all the time the bizarre
coast. But on the 18.9 the new Highcastle entrance could be seen
clearly by climbing down. The reduced activity made it possible
reaching directly the point of entrance. At this place continious
new formed lava lumps as big as fists were wiped away by each new
wave again. (entrance photos, part I)
M.Rietze, I believe left.
This photo offers also a good size comparison!