Friday, November 15, 2013


(Examples of Hawaiian Petroglyphs)

We took an afternoon to drive the 1/2 hour up the side of Kilauea to get a look at the smoldering caldera.

Kilauea is the most active of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii and it is also the youngest on Hawaii.  There is a younger one forming off-shore but it has not yet breached the surface of the ocean.   The Hawaiian volcanoes follow the rift zone created as the Pacific Tectonic plate moves over a hotspot in the earth's mantle.    

This volcano has been erupting in the same, somewhat predictable, manner for the last 200 to 300 years...

...which has been great for tourist business.

For native Hawaiians, Kilauea caldera is the home of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, and the creator and rejuvenator of new lands.  It is here that they have come for centuries to pay homage to an ever-present life force that embodies all things volcanic. 

Pele was born in the mystical land of Kuaihelani.  Chants tell us that Pele fled Kahiki after angering her older sister, Namakaokaha'i (the goddess of the sea).  Pele sailed to Hawai'i in search of a fiery crater home.  This migration brought Pele to this island and to Kilauea.
(Mary's Motto...Beware of angry older sisters.)

Pele's journey down the island chain parallels the geologic origins of the Hawaiian Islands.  Pele and her entourage first landed at Mokupapapa in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  They continued their migration southeast, testing nine different islands along the way before finding a permanent home on the island of Hawaii. 

The clouds created by the rising ash and gases were beginning to drop even lower soon after we arrived.

Within a day or two of arriving in Hawaii I noticed a slight cough developing...

...within a few minutes of our arrival at the top of the volcano I began to notice the cough worsening.  We decided to take a little walk along the trail leading out to a viewing point, but in just a short distance I began to wheeze and my chest tightened up.

Mary, Jim and Aunt Louise were doing fine but I wasn't feeling too good so we turned around and drove back down the mountain.

(From the USGS official website)
"Potentially lethal levels of sulfur dioxide can be present within 1 km downwind of the crater."


1 comment:

  1. So you are among those who are especially sensitive to volcanic emissions. Sorry you had to cut your visit short.