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New Coastal Lava Viewing Area Opens in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Park rangers opened a newly established lava viewing area at the Kamokuna ocean entry in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today, following a two-day closure caused by a large lava delta collapse on New Year’s Eve.

New lava cascade at Kamokuna in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Monday, January 2. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

The new viewing area is approximately 900 feet east of a cascade of lava pouring into the ocean, and about 60 feet inland of the coastal cliffs. Rangers, in conjunction with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists, thoroughly assessed the area, and established the new viewing site with white rope lines and numerous signs that clearly mark hazardous closed areas.

Visitors are strongly urged to stay out of closed areas and heed all posted warning signs and park rangers.

Visitors who do not heed warnings not only endanger themselves but the lives of others, including our park rangers, who work tirelessly to ensure a safe visitor experience,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Visitors begin the five-mile hike to Kamokuna shortly after the park opened the lava viewing area on Tuesday, January 3. Today marks the 34th anniversary of the eruption of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on Kīlauea, the source of the lava flows going into the ocean today. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

After the delta collapse on New Year’s Eve, a group of five visitors ignored rangers and warning signs and slipped beneath the white rope lines into a closed area at the coast. Two park rangers had to chase after them, and made them turn around – 15 minutes before the area they were standing on collapsed into the ocean.

In addition to the threat of another land collapse, the toxic plume of volcanic particles and acidic gas generated by lava mixed with ocean water is very dangerous, and irritates the lungs, skin and eyes. Land collapses, which trigger tsunami-like waves, and the toxic gas plume, are also a serious threat to aircraft and boats. There is currently a 1,000-foot above-ground-level temporary flight restriction at Kamokuna.

HVO scientists estimate that nearly all of the 26-acre lava delta is now gone, along with more than four acres of older coastal cliff area, which included the former lava viewing site. The collapse on New Year’s Eve started in the afternoon and lasted several hours, creating blasts of volcanic rock and a series of damaging waves, in addition to a thick, dark plume of debris and gas.

It is closer from the east entrance to reach the new lava viewing area within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. From the east, or Kalapana/County of Hawai‘i side, visitors must hike about 4.2 miles one way along the gravel emergency access road. This entrance is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. From the park, or west side, visitors can hike out from the Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road, about five miles one-way. About one mile of the hike goes inland of the gas plume over hardened, uneven lava flows. The park entrance is open 24 hours a day.

Hikers need to be prepared for a long trek. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions.  Carry plenty of water (three to four quart/liters per person). Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlight with extra batteries.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. For County of Hawai‘i Lava Viewing information, call (808) 430-1966. For the latest eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php. Monitor air quality at http://www.hawaiiso2network.com/.

New Year’s Eve Delta Collapse Causes Temporary Closure at Kamokuna Ocean Entry

A large section of the 26-acre lava delta formed by the 61g lava flow collapsed into the ocean around 2:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, launching showers of volcanic rock into the air, and creating a flurry of large waves that eroded away a portion of the older sea cliff and viewing area.

As a result, the Kamokuna ocean entry within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will remain closed today as park rangers and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists survey the area. Rangers on duty New Year’s Day reported that the former viewing area is gone, and that loud cracks continue to be heard throughout the unstable area.

Although park rangers temporarily closed the Kamokuna lava viewing area last night, five visitors ducked beneath the white rope closure line and made a beeline for the coastal cliffs around 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Eruption Crew Ranger Travis Delimont and a co-worker had to chase after them before they turned around.  Within 15 minutes, the section of cliff where the visitors were standing crashed into the ocean.

“It was a really close brush with death for them,” Ranger Delimont said. “Luckily, they finally listened to us and turned around in time,” he said.

The lava viewing area will remain closed until it is determined safe to reopen. The County of Hawai‘i also closed the Kalapana access to the park.

“Fortunately, there were no aircraft or boats reported in the area at the time of the collapse, nor were any visitors on the delta itself, which is closed for public safety,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Had anyone been close by on land, water or air, lives would have surely been lost,” she said.

There is a temporary flight restriction of 1,000 feet above ground level at the Kamokuna ocean entry.

Lava deltas are extremely hazardous volcanic features and are formed when lava enters the ocean and builds new land on loose and unstable substrate. In addition to the threat of collapse, lava entering the ocean produces a highly a corrosive plume of hydrochloric acid and volcanic particles that irritate the lungs, skin and eyes. Visitors are strongly urged to stay out of closed areas and heed all posted warning signs.

Holiday Visitation Surges at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Park visitation surges during the holiday travel season and this week is no exception with parking lots at popular destinations like Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Jaggar Museum and Kīlauea Visitor Center at capacity.

NPS Photo

And, with Kīlauea erupting from two locations, the park remains a powerful draw for visitors who want to see volcanic activity. As a result, the park is very crowded, especially during peak hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’ve had some visitors wait up to an hour to park, and we have park rangers working in traffic control. We remind everyone to please be patient and treat rangers and other drivers with respect and aloha,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Park rangers offer these tips so all visitors have a positive and memorable time in the national park:

  • Plan to arrive early and explore Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 9 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is often empty of people. Birdwatching at Nāhuku is best in the early morning.
  • Want to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m.
  • Drive and explore Chain of Craters Road. This historic and scenic road originates at the summit of Kīlauea and stretches 19 miles to Hōlei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs) abound – and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers. The Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road is the starting point for a 10-mile roundtrip hike to see lava enter the ocean at Kamokuna.
  • Night owl or early riser? The best time to observe the glow from Halema‘uma‘u is before sunrise, or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day. You can see what Kīlauea is doing before you arrive by checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.
  • Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5 p.m. (More than 8,000 people were counted one evening at Jaggar Museum earlier this week.) If you can’t avoid peak hours, consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakāko‘i, ‘Akanikōlea (Steam Vents), or Kīlauea Overlook. From Kīlauea Overlook, it’s a short walk to Jaggar Museum along Crater Rim Trail, but bring a flashlight and a jacket.
  • Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
  • Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s January 2017 Events

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017.

January is Volcano Awareness Month, and all ADIP programs will be presented by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

34 Years and Counting: Updates on Kīlauea Volcano’s Eruptions. As of Jan. 3, 2017, Kīlauea has been erupting nearly continuously for the past 34 years. It began on the volcano’s East Rift Zone, where Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō continues to send lava flows down the flanks of Kīlauea. In 2008, a second vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea, where a spattering lava lake still lights the night sky and captivates spectators.  Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, briefly describes the history of these two eruptions and provides in-depth accounts of volcanic activity during the past year, including lava reaching the sea for the first time since 2013 and the rise and fall of the summit lava lake. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Jan. 3 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

The Unheard Sounds of Hawaiian Volcanoes. Infrasound is atmospheric sound and vibration below the threshold of human hearing. These low-frequency sounds are generated by large-scale fluid flow and can propagate for thousands of kilometers to provide early warning of natural or man-made hazards. Active open-vent volcanoes, such as Kīlauea, are exceptionally good sound emitters, and scientists are steadily building a continuous baseline of volcano-acoustic activity, including infrasonic tremor from Halemaʻumaʻu and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.  Join Milton Garces, Director of the University of Hawaiʻi Infrasound Laboratory, as he talks about “listening” to Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, and Hualālai volcanoes through one of the most advanced infrasound networks in the world. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

‘Ukulele Making Demonstration. Join Oral Abihai as he shares his passion for making ‘ukulele from local and exotic woods. A native Hawaiian, Oral has been building ‘ukulele for 10 years, following his apprenticeship in Lāhaina, Maui with master builder Kenny Potts. Oral loves to create ‘ukulele in his spare time with bits and pieces of his wood collection. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Jan. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Trials and Tribulations of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater: 200 Years Old and Still Going. Halema‘uma‘u, the large crater within Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera, has a checkered past and an uncertain future. Probably first appearing in the early 19th century, Halemaʻumaʻu has enthralled visitors with its lava lakes, enticed at least three people to their deaths in past decades, and served as a centerpiece for countless photographs and paintings.

Lava lake and flows on Halema‘uma‘u Crater floor in 1968. USGS photo

Don Swanson, a USGS geologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, traces the volcanic history of Halemaʻumaʻu and includes personal anecdotes about his encounters with the crater during the 1967-68 eruption. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hula Performance by Hālau I Ka Leo Ola O Nā Mamo. Be immersed in authentic Hawaiian hula presented by Kumu Hula Pelehonuamea and Kumu Hula Kekoa Harman. Hālau I Ka Leo Ola O Nā Mamo is composed of the students of the Hawaiian language immersion school, Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u. These students are all fluent speakers of the Hawaiian language, which is being revived after many years of decline. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., Jan. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

How Do HVO Geologists Track Lava Flows and Lava Lakes? Kīlauea is currently home to two remarkably long eruptions. Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and other vents on the volcano’s East Rift Zone have erupted lava flows for more than three decades. At the summit of Kīlauea, an active vent within Halema‘uma‘u Crater has fed a lava lake for over eight years.  Monitoring each of these eruptions presents unique challenges and requires using various tools and techniques, ranging from low-tech to state-of-the-art. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick explains the toolkit he uses to map lava flows and measure lava lakes, and describes how scientists continuously improve their methods of tracking volcanic activity. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Ho‘okani ‘Ukulele (Learn to Play ‘Ukulele). Learn the basics of the beloved Hawaiian ‘ukulele. The modern ‘ukulele evolved from the Machete de Braga, a small stringed instrument introduced by Portuguese immigrants in the 1800s. The ‘ukulele is now an iconic part of Hawaiian music culture. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

An Update on Mauna Loa Activity and Monitoring Efforts. Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, has erupted 33 times since 1843, most recently in 1984, when lava flows approached Hilo. Future eruptions could produce high-volume, fast-moving flows that reach the ocean in a matter of hours. In 2015, the Volcano Alert Level of Mauna Loa was elevated from “NORMAL” to “ADVISORY” due to increased seismicity and deformation at the volcano, which continue to occur. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Ingrid Johanson provides a brief account of Mauna Loa’s eruptive history, an update on its current status, and an overview of how HVO scientists track activity that might presage the volcano’s next eruption. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Features Open as Winter Weather Continues in Hawaii

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit reopened Saturday, although heavy rainfall persists at times. The snow-cloaked summit of Mauna Loa will remain closed to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Nāhuku is open, but the lights are still out. Visitors must bring a flashlight to explore the 300-foot lava tube, which becomes pitch black just a few yards in without light, has uneven flooring, and a low ceiling in some sections. Rangers are stationed at the lava tube to assist visitors during peak hours, and signs are posted.

The park’s Kahuku Unit in Ka‘ū reopened Saturday morning and remained open through Sunday. The 116,000-acre Kahuku Unit is open to the public for hiking and exploring Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Mauna Loa summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“The park is open, and we remind visitors to drive with caution and aloha,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Roads are flooded in places, and visitors might encounter fog, additional rain and other inclement weather today and as the week progresses,” she said.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Closures – Thurston Lava Tube Floods

Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit are closed due to impacts from heavy rainfall and flash flooding. The summit of Mauna Loa remains closed to all day use and overnight camping. Closures remain in effect until it is safe to reopen.

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

A closure sign at the entrance to Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube)/NPS Photo

On Friday, the floor of the lava tube was flooded with rain, and water covered the electrical conduit system. The power was shut off, but visitor access is prohibited until further notice.

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The floor of a dark Nāhuku flooded with rainwater Friday afternoon, with the power off./NPS Photo

The Kahuku Unit, which is usually open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, was closed for the day on Friday morning due to flooding and a road closure on Highway 11. Staff will reassess conditions Saturday morning, and determine if Kahuku will open for the weekend.

The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning for Hawai‘i Island Friday afternoon through 5:15 p.m. HST.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa that remains in effect. Heavy rain and high winds pummeled the 13,677-foot summit, and abundant snow was visible on webcams and at sunset Thursday.

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

Rainwater ponding along the rainforest trail at Nāhuku. NPS Photo

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

“Park rangers will constantly monitor the roads and destinations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during this storm, and additional closures may be warranted,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

High Winds and Heavy Snow in Hawaii – Mauna Loa Summit Closed

Due to high winds and heavy snow, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closed the summit of Mauna Loa on Thursday to all day use and overnight camping until it is safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park early Thursday morning. Heavy rain, high winds, and a foot of snow were expected, and by afternoon, a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet. Visitors at the park’s Jaggar Museum were treated periodically with views of snow-capped Mauna Loa, a novelty for many who don’t expect snow in Hawai‘i.

The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.

In January 2014, park rangers and a helicopter pilot rescued a backcountry hiker stranded on Mauna Loa in an unexpected blizzard.

Senator Helps Park Rangers Get Every Kid in a Park

Fourth graders on a field trip to the erupting summit of Kīlauea Monday morning received their free Every Kid in a Park pass from a strong supporter of the program: Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawai‘i.

Ka‘ū Learning Academy fourth grade students learn about Kīlauea volcano and the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Ka‘ū Learning Academy fourth grade students learn about Kīlauea volcano and the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

The Senator, Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando, and park rangers greeted students from Ka‘ū Learning Academy, a charter school located 41 miles south of Kīlauea, at Kīlauea Overlook. The keiki hiked along Crater Rim Trail with Senator Hirono to the observation deck at Jaggar Museum to learn about the volcano in the backyard, and earn their Every Kid in a Park pass.

The Every in Kid in a Park program is part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s iconic outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit them. This is the second year of the innovative program, which gives fourth graders and those accompanying them, free access to 2,000 public lands and waters nationwide – including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – for a whole year.

Fourth graders from Ka‘ū Learning Academy display their free Every Kid in a Park pass at Jaggar Museum. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Fourth graders from Ka‘ū Learning Academy display their free Every Kid in a Park pass at Jaggar Museum. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

“Senator Hirono is a dedicated advocate of education for Hawai‘i youth, and fully embraces Every Kid in a Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The Ka‘ū students who hiked with her today not only met one of Hawai‘i’s senators, but were able to spend quality time outdoors with someone who truly advocates for our keiki and national parks,” Orlando said.

The students took photos with Senator Hirono, and were mesmerized by the surges of lava spattering from a vent within Halema‘uma‘u  Crater, one mile away.

“My favorite thing was seeing the volcano,” said 9-year-old T’rael Pesnell, who took photos of his classmate posing with the eruption behind him.

Senator Hirono also presented the national park with Senate Resolution 541, proclaiming Aug. 1, 2016 as Hawai‘i Volcanoes and Haleakalā National Parks Day, to honor the parks’ centennial anniversaries.

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the Every Kid in a Park program promotes a lifelong appreciation for our environment and natural resources,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

Closeup up view of the Every Kid in a Park pass. NPS Photo

Closeup up view of the Every Kid in a Park pass. NPS Photo

Educators for all grades can learn more about the park’s educational opportunities and curriculum on the park website: https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn /education/index.htm, and by calling the Education Center at (808) 985-6019.

Largest Cat-Proof Fence Built in the U.S. to Protect Hawaiian Birds from Feral Cats

Work is complete on what could be the largest cat-proof fence in the United States, designed to protect the federally endangered ‘ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel, from the birds’ primary threat: feral cats.

Park staff install the cat-proof fence in rough and rugged high-elevation lava fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa. The five-mile-long fence protects more than 600 acres of Hawaiian petrel habitat, and could be the longest of its kind in the United States. NPS Photo.

Park staff install the cat-proof fence in rough and rugged high-elevation lava fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa. The five-mile-long fence protects more than 600 acres of Hawaiian petrel habitat, and could be the longest of its kind in the United States. NPS Photo.

The seafaring ‘ua‘u nests in deep lava rock burrows on the rugged high-altitude slopes of Mauna Loa, and, despite the remote location, are not safe from cats. In order to protect the species, the National Park Service (NPS) teamed up with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Bird Conservatory, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawai‘i (PCSU), to build the five-mile long cat barrier fence in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The specifically designed barrier is more than six feet high, and has a curved top section that prevents cats from climbing over it.

Construction began in 2013, and was limited to January through May to avoid disturbing nesting birds. The seabirds spend most of their lives at sea, and come to land only during breeding season. ‘Ua‘u return to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park briefly in April to prepare nest sites, and return in early June to lay a single egg. The fluffy chicks hatch in August and remain in their burrows until November when they fledge or take their first flight out to sea. Adults, eggs and chicks are extremely vulnerable to predators throughout the long breeding season as all activity occurs on the ground.

Cat-proof fence aerial/Courtesy of Scott Hall/NFWF

Cat-proof fence aerial/Courtesy of Scott Hall/NFWF

The high-altitude project was grueling. NPS and PCSU fence crews worked and camped at elevations between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, in steep and loose lava rock terrain, and in weather that ranged from hail, and high wind, to extreme heat. The site is very remote and all materials, gear and staff had to be flown in and out. But the discomfort paid off: the fence now protects more than 600 acres of ‘ua‘u nesting habitat on Mauna Loa.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest fence of its kind in the U.S. To build such a fence is an incredible feat, and an important victory for a native species that is extremely rare on Hawai‘i Island,” said NPS biologist Kathleen Misajon. “Through the partnership of the cooperating organizations, the cat-proof fence will protect these amazing seabirds and support the expansion of this small population,” she said.

The endangered Hawaiian petrels are more typically seen on neighbor islands. The species is very rare on Hawai‘i Island, with just 75 nesting pairs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and another small population on the slopes of Kohala. The park and cooperating partner agencies have studied this remnant population of ‘ua‘u on Mauna Loa since the early 1990s, both on the ground and more recently, through remote game cameras. The birds only come and go at night, nest in deep cracks and crevices in the lava, and are rarely seen.

Both parents take turns incubating a single egg and later, feeding the chick. They fly from high atop Mauna Loa to forage in the Pacific Ocean, ranging as far north as Washington State before returning to the nest to feed their chick.

For more information on ‘ua‘u on Mauna Loa, watch this six-minute video on the park website: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=A718E6AF-B4CB-8719-5F489DE87AE57E25

Explosions at Volcano Summit – More Reminders Why Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Area is Closed

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake.

hvo-102116The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, yesterday (Thursday, October 20). The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public.

hvo-102116aYesterday’s explosion, triggered by a rockfall from the south-southeast wall of the summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, blasted spatter (molten lava) and rock fragments on to the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as on to the closed section of Crater Rim Drive, about a quarter-mile from the vent.

hvo-102116bFollowing yesterday’s explosion, spatter (bit of molten lava) and fragments of solid rock littered this closed section of Crater Rim Drive in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. This section of the road, adjacent to the former Halemaʻumaʻu Crater parking area, has been closed since 2008 due to elevated sulfur dioxide emissions and other ongoing volcanic hazards, such as today’s rockfall-triggered explosion.

hvo-102116cSpatter and “ribbon bombs” (stretched fragments of molten lava) up to 30 cm (about 12 inches) long fell to the ground surface on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater during the two most recent explosions from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake. The black, glassy lava fragment shown here, about the size of a standard donut, landed amidst smaller, solid pieces of rock blasted from the vent.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A marking pen is shown for scale to indicate the size of this solid rock fragment hurled from the vent during the explosion.

A close-up of spatter and rock fragments blasted from the summit vent during the recent explosions.

hvo-102116e

These pieces of rock and lava, now scattered among the Pele’s hair that blankets the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, remind us of the hazards that still exist in this area.

 

Tips for Safe and Easy Lava Lake Viewing in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Visitors and local residents gather nightly at the Jaggar Museum observation deck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to watch the lava lake spatter and glow within the summit crater of Kīlauea volcano, vying for the best parking spot and vantage point.

Daytime viewing of the lava lake activity has been exceptional. Photo taken from Jaggar Museum observation deck on Friday, 9/9/16. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Daytime viewing of the lava lake activity has been exceptional. Photo taken from Jaggar Museum observation deck on Friday, 9/9/16. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

The lava within Halema‘uma‘u Crater recently became visible for the first time since May 2015, and rangers have been busy directing vehicles at Jaggar Museum from 5 p.m. until well after dark, often sending people to park at Kīlauea Overlook, about 1/3 of a mile away.

Park rangers share the following tips for an optimal viewing experience:

  • Avoid the busy times, and visit the lava lake during the day. Or come after 9 p.m. The park is open 24 hours a day.
  • Be mindful of air quality. Hazardous volcanic gas and particulates can drift over the summit area in light or southerly winds. These gases are a danger to all, especially people with heart or respiratory problems,      young children and pregnant women. Kīlauea Visitor Center offers updates on air quality 24 hours a day, and visitors can monitor the Hawai‘i SO2 network website.
  • Be prepared to hike a 1/3 of a mile each way between Kīlauea Overlook and Jaggar Museum on Crater Rim Trail. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, bring rain gear, water, binoculars, a flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Carpool if possible to reduce the number of vehicles in the parking areas.
  • Monitor the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) webcams. The KI camera provides a panoramic view of Halema‘uma‘u Crater from HVO, near Jaggar Museum.

In addition, air quality is poor at the coast where another eruption from Kīlauea enters the ocean at the Kamokuna site. Park rangers have roped off sections downwind of the ocean entry and have placed signs warning about toxic fume clouds which contain sulfur dioxide, volcanic particulates, and hydrochloric acid near the coast.

To stay upwind of the fumes, it is currently best to hike in from the County of Hawai‘i lava viewing area on the Kalapana side to access the ocean entry in the park. The Kalapana access is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s about a 4.2-mile hike from the Kalapana boundary to the ocean entry viewing point, one way, along the gravel emergency access road.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Centennial Events for October

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, and continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public in October.

All ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. In addition, two artists-in-residence arrive for their October residency, sponsored by the National Parks Arts Foundation. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Centennial Hike: Hawaiian Adze Production—Lithic Block Quarries on Kīlauea. Join Park Ranger Jay Robinson on an easy hour-long hike among the abandoned adze quarry at Kīlauea Overlook. Most visitors have no idea this area was showered by large basalt rocks erupted from Kīlauea during its summit eruptions of 1790, or that Hawaiians coveted the rocks for stone tools (adze). Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended.

When: Sat., Oct. 1, 2016 at 11 a.m.

Where: Meet at Kīlauea Overlook

Lili‘uokalani at Washington Place.  Jackie Pualani Johnson performs an amazing, one-woman show about Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last monarch of Hawai‘i. Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned for a year at ‘Iolani Palace following the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, where she composed the poignant song Aloha ‘Oe and translated the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation chant, into English. Johnson’s performance emphasizes the relationship with her hānai children, and is taken directly from the writings of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the queen’s family and other historical sources. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Nā Pa‘ahana Hula (Tools of Hula). Learn about the beautiful implements that accompany traditional hula and ‘oli (chant).

Instruments of Hula.  NPS Photo

Instruments of Hula. NPS Photo

Pele Kaio, kumu hula for Unulau, and an instructor at Hawai‘i Community College, displays and describes the importance of ‘ulī ‘ulī (feathered rattles), pahu (drum), ‘ipu heke (gourd) and other Hawaiian hula tools. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Hawai‘i Nei Art Adventure: Palm Trail Hike. The featured category for this year’s Hawai‘i Nei Art Contest are the national parks of Hawai‘i Island to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. Come get inspired on Kahuku’s Palm Trail. This ranger-led hike across the 1868 lava flow reveals the pioneer plants that thrive on new flows, and more diverse and established flora in areas with deeper soil. The hike is moderately difficult, 2.5 miles roundtrip and will take 2-3 hours.  Carpooling is encouraged. Space is limited; register by Oct. 5 at www.hawaiineiartcontest.org. Free!

Where: Enter the Kahuku Unit on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile market 70.5

When:  Sat., Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Calling keiki 17 and younger and their families to help the park’s natural resources staff restore native forest by planting native trees in the Kahuku Unit in Ka‘ū. Call (808) 985-6019 to register by October 3. Bring lunch, snacks, water, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

When: Sat., Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Kahuku Unit

Bert Naihe in Concert. Hawaiian musician and singer Bert Naihe will perform songs from his own CD, You’re the One, and catchy versions of other favorite tunes. Naihe, who was born and raised in Hilo, is also a musician for Hālau o ka Ua Kanileua with Kumu Hula Johnny Lum Ho.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

When: Wed., Oct. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

After Dark in the Park: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used to digitize archeological resources including ancient footprints, petroglyph fields and agricultural systems. Join Park Archeologist Dusten Robbins to learn how the park uses LiDAR in managing cultural resources, and future uses of this exciting technology.

When: Tues., Oct. 25, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Ulana Niu (Coconut Leaf Plaiting). Join park rangers and learn to make fun and creative trinkets out of coconut leaves to take home. Park rangers and staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association share their knowledge of this beloved Polynesian tradition. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

After Dark Out of the Park: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used to digitize archeological resources including ancient footprints, petroglyph fields and agricultural systems. Join Park Archeologist Dusten Robbins to learn how the park uses LiDAR in managing cultural resources, and future uses of this exciting technology. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

When: Wed., Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

Centennial Hike: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. Join park rangers on a moderate, 2 ½-mile roundtrip hike into the Ka‘ū Desert and learn how LiDAR has helped rescript the history surrounding the ancient footprints embedded in this landscape. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended.  About two hours.

When: Sat., Oct. 29, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Where: Meet at the Ka‘ū Desert Trailhead

Artists-in-Residence Programs for October. Composer, jazz musician and ‘ukulele champion Byron Yasui and accomplished painter and cellist Noreen Naughton, are the park’s Artists in Residence for October. Join the artists for these upcoming free events, which include public workshops, an After Dark in the Park presentation, and an open-house studio.

‘Ukulele: A Brief History and a Sampling of Playing Styles. Byron Yasui shares the various ‘ukulele styles he grew up with as a living history interpretation of the instrument’s varied history. This class is for players of moderate to advanced level, and could also inspire composers and arrangers in the areas of playing techniques, notation and tablature. Free, but registration is required. Call Laura Schuster at 808-985-6130 or email laura_c_schuster@nps.gov.
When: Sat., Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Theater at Kīlauea Military Camp

Painting Workshop with Noreen Naughton. Artist-in-residence and painter Noreen Naughton will talk about her process of discovering the subject and how she arrives at abstraction while painting out in the park. She will also discuss creative process and how it works for her. Free, but registration is required. Call Laura Schuster at 808-985-6130 or email laura_c_schuster@nps.gov.
When: Sat., Oct. 8 and Sat. Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: the lobby of the ‘Ōhi‘a Wing, between Kīlauea Vistor Center and the Volcano House

‘Ukulele Kani Ka Pila with Byron Yasui. Bring your ‘ukulele to this workshop for players of all skill levels. The objective is to have fun and learn easy-to-finger chords as an accompaniment to singing simple songs. Free, but registration is required. Call Laura Schuster at 808-985-6130 or email laura_c_schuster@nps.gov.
When: Sat., Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Theater at Kīlauea Military Camp

After Dark in the Park with Artists-in-Residence Bryon Yasui and Noreen Naughton. The artists speak about the creative process and how Hawai‘i informs and inspires their different art forms. Yasui, a Professor Emeritus of Theory and Composition at the University of Hawai‘i, is a composer, jazz musician, and ‘ukulele aficionado. Naughton is a renowned painter, educator and cellist. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

The artists’ residency begins Sept. 27 and ends Oct. 27. The residency is brought to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park by the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF). These residencies are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces September Flight Plans

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for September 2016:

  • September 6 and 8, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to shuttle equipment and camp supplies from Mauna Ulu to Nāpau campsite for resource surveys
  • September 6, between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. for invasive mullein survey and control on Mauna Loa between 7,000- and 9,000-ft. elevation
  • September 7, between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Mauna Loa Road to the Mauna Loa and Red Hill cabins between 6,000- and 13,250-ft. elevation, for maintenance on the structures
  • September 7 and 22, time TBD, to haul out old fence material from Mauna Loa along the boundary of Kapapala and Ka‘ū Forest Reserve
  • September 15 and 16, between 6 a.m. and noon, for helicopter training in the Kahuku Unit between 2,500- and 6,000-ft. elevation
  • September 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, aircraft inspection and flight near the summit of Kīlauea

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Most Areas in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Now Open

Most areas previously closed within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park due to Hurricane Lester are now open.

Visitors drive down Chain of Craters Road Friday afternoon. NPS Photo

Visitors drive down Chain of Craters Road Friday afternoon. NPS Photo

Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by the Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, remains closed this afternoon due to tree hazards, but should open Saturday.

Park rangers opened Chain of Craters Road, all backcountry campsites and trails, the coastal lava viewing area, and Mauna Loa Road under sunny skies Friday afternoon, much to the delight of visitors eager to explore the park during the long Labor Day weekend.

Visitors to the park’s coastal areas are reminded that although the hurricane watch was canceled for Hawai‘i Island as Hurricane Lester moves to the west-northwest, a high surf warning remains in effect for all east-facing shorelines.

“We urge all park visitors to maintain a safe distance from the shoreline, whether viewing lava at the Kamokuna ocean entry, hiking the Puna Coast Trail, or camping at any of the coastal campsites,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “We are anticipating surf up to 25 feet tonight and possibly through the weekend,” he said.

The Kahuku Unit will be open on Saturday and Sunday, with no cancellations to any guided hikes or programs.

Backcountry campers are reminded that all overnight stays require a backcountry permit. Permits can be obtained up to 24 hours in advance from the backcountry office, located at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center, and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Partially Open as Hurricane Lester Nears

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open Thursday, with partial closures in place as Hurricane Lester nears, and Hurricane Madeline,  now downgraded as a tropical storm, passes south of Hawai‘i Island.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

Open areas include Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail, Kīlauea Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum and observation deck, Steam Vents, Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Iki, Devastation Trail, Sulphur Banks and most front-country trails.

These closures remain in place: all camping and campgrounds, Chain of Craters Road, including the coastal lava viewing area, all backcountry areas, Hilina Pali Road, and Mauna Loa Road after Kīpukapuaulu to the overlook.

“Hurricane Lester is still a threat to Hawai‘i Island, even though it is projected to go north.  Therefore we will maintain the aforementioned closures until Lester has passed and is no longer a threat,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Hawai‘i Island and Maui are under a hurricane watch, and according to the National Weather Service as of 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Lester was 675 miles east of Hilo, moving west at 13 mph. Forecasters are again expecting very heavy rainfall, dangerously high surf, and hurricane-force winds.

The Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed on Saturday. Rangers will determine if Kahuku can reopen for Sunday.

Updates are posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, its general information phone number, (808) 985-6000, and its official social media sites.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Now Closed Until Further Notice

To ensure the safety of visitors and employees, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will close at noon today until it is determined safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

Park staff and volunteers not directly involved in storm efforts were directed to stay home. Guests at Kīlauea Military Camp and Volcano House will shelter in place, or if necessary, be directed to the nearest shelter.

Rangers will assess impacts from Hurricane Madeline at 8 a.m. Thursday. The strongest winds are predicted to hit the park between noon and 2 p.m. Wednesday. Forecasters predict the park could see up to 10 inches of rain, maximum winds of 45 mph up to 75 mph (depending on the storm’s track), and dangerously high surf.

“The closure will continue until we have a chance to assess the impact to the park and mitigate any damage. With Hurricane Lester right on the heels of Madeline, and still a Category 4 hurricane, we could end up continuing the closure for a few days until it’s safe to reopen,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Rangers will determine by Friday if the Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed over the weekend.

Updates will be posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, and its official social media sites.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Partial Closure as Hurricanes Approach

To ensure the safety of visitors and employees, sections of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will close starting at 5 p.m. today as hurricanes Madeline and Lester approach Hawai‘i Island.

Halema‘uma‘u is seen from Crater Rim Trail near Steam Vents on Tuesday morning, the calm before the storms.

Halema‘uma‘u is seen from Crater Rim Trail near Steam Vents on Tuesday morning, the calm before the storms.

Park closures are as follows for Tuesday, August 30 by 5 p.m.:

  • Kulanaokuaiki Campground and Hilina Pali Road
  • All backcountry sites and Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu to the overlook

The following closures will commence on Wednesday, August 31:

  • Nāmakanipaio Campground and A-Frame Cabins will close by 9 a.m.
  • The coastal lava viewing area and Chain of Craters Road will close by 9 a.m.
  • Jaggar Museum & Kīlauea Visitor Center will close Wed., 8/31, time to be determined
  • The entrance station will close on Wed., 8/31, time to be determined

Guests staying at Kīlauea Military Camp and Volcano House may shelter in place, or be directed by employees to the nearest shelter (if necessary). In addition, the Kahuku Unit will remain closed over the weekend, but may reopen if Hurricane Lester is not a threat.

“Although we don’t intend at this time to close the entire park, visitors are advised to stay off the roads and plan to visit the park once the storms pass and damage is assessed,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Hurricane-force winds, dangerous surf, and very heavy rainfall are expected.

Closures will remain in effect until the storms have passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Updates will be posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, its official social media sites, and recorded to (808) 985-6000.

Popular visitor areas at the summit of Kīlauea will remain open at this time, including Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum and observation deck.

Aerial Video of Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Lava Lake

This aerial video footage, filmed by USGS in late July 2016, features Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

lava lake 817

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, and the adjacent USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, are perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera (foreground of opening footage) just over a mile from the crater, offering spectacular viewing opportunities for Park visitors. Closer to Halemaʻumaʻu, black lava flows on both sides of the summit vent are clearly visible; these flows spilled onto the crater floor when the lava lake overflowed the vent rim in April–May 2015.

At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 22–26 m (72–85 ft) below the vent rim; this morning, it was about 32 m (105 ft) below the vent rim. The summit vent, initially 35 m (115 ft) wide when it first opened in March 2008, has since been enlarged by numerous vent rim collapses and is now about 180 by 250 meters (590 by 820 feet) across.

Happy 100th Birthday Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kīlauea is putting on quite a show for park visitors eager to see a volcanic eruption – just like it was 100 years ago today when Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was established on August 1, 1916.

Visitors were treated to free entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on its 100th anniversary, August 1. The entrance station was draped in two 40-foot tī leaf lei made by park staff . NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Visitors were treated to free entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on its 100th anniversary, August 1. The entrance station was draped in two 40-foot tī leaf lei made by park staff . NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Today, as the park enters its next century, park visitors were treated to free entry,  a native plant giveaway, Hawaiian music by Ken Makuakāne, lei making and kōnane (Hawaiian checkers), plus presentations about park efforts to save endangered nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and honu‘ea (Hawaiian hawksbill turtle). Lava cookies and centennial stickers were shared with the first 100 visitors who arrived for the festivities.

A lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s 4,000-foot summit continues to rise and spatter, deflate and degas. At night, the lake casts a magnificent glow; by day, a plume of steam, particles and gas billows upward. Visitors can easily and safely observe this eruptive activity from an accessible overlook at Jaggar Museum.

“It is amazing that in 1916, the year the park was established, we had two eruptions. Mauna Loa erupted during May, and sent lava towards Kahuku, and Halema‘uma‘u fountained and spattered,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “Fast forward 100 years and Kīlauea erupts from two locations. What an auspicious way to commemorate our centennial anniversary,” she said.

A week ago, out in the volcano’s remote east rift zone, lava from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent streamed down forested cliffs and crossed an emergency access route. Early the next morning, streams of rough ‘a‘ā and smooth, viscous pāhoehoe lava plunged down jagged coastal cliffs into the ocean. This cascade of molten lava, at the Kamokuna ocean entry, has enlarged to almost 800 feet (240 m) across and is being fed by the active flow field on the coastal plain.

Park visitors are urged to stay away from the steep, unstable sea cliffs, and rangers have placed rope barriers along the ocean entry to keep people safe.

hvo roped

Visitors observe the beauty of the Kamokuna ocean entry on the eve of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s 100th anniversary. Rangers have placed rope barricades to keep people away from the unstable, steep cliff edges, flying volcanic debris and fumes, and bench collapse. NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Hikers can access the active flow field from the end of Chain of Craters Road in the park, along the gravel emergency route (Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road), and are rewarded with beautiful sights of molten, flowing lava. It’s a long and hot hike, nearly five miles one-way. Preparation is key. Bring at least three to four quarts of water per person. Wear sturdy closed-toe hiking shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions. Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlamp with extra batteries.

“There’s no way to tell what Kīlauea will do next, and it’s likely that someone will be saying the same thing 100 years from now,” Orlando said.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Partial Park Closures as Tropical Storm Darby Nears

To keep visitors and employees safe as Tropical Storm Darby approaches Hawai‘i Island, park officials will close all backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, effective 5 p.m. today, Friday, July 22.

Darby 722 5am

Park closures are as follows:

  • Kūlanaokuaiki Campground & Nāmakanipaio Cabins and Campgrounds
  • Hilina Pali Road
  • Chain of Craters Road at the Crater Rim Drive intersection
  • Lava viewing area and Coastal Ranger Station
  • Entire backcountry, including all coastal sites, Nāpau and Mauna Loa
  • Mauna Loa Road after Kīpukapuaulu
  • Kahuku

Closures will remain in effect until Tropical Storm Darby has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp will remain open for registered guests.

“Although we aren’t closing Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Friday afternoon or this weekend,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Popular visitor areas at the summit of Kīlauea will remain open at this time, including Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum and observation deck. Visitors can check the park website, www.nps.gov/havo, for the latest information on openings, or call (808) 985-6000.

The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning Friday morning for Hawai‘i Island. Forecasters predict heavy rains, flash floods, high surf, and strong, damaging winds. For updates on Tropical Storm Darby, go to http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tc_graphics/latest_w.php?stormid=EP052016.

For Civil Defense updates for the County of Hawai‘i, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense/.