Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located in the U.S. State of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii , was established in 1916 . It displays the results of hundreds of thousands of years of volcanism, migration, and evolution, processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct Ancient Hawaiian culture. The park highlights two of the world’s most active volcanoes, and offers insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.
Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the most massive, offer scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors’ views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The park includes 505.36 square miles (1,308.9 km2) of land. Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the Earth’s most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet (4,169 m). Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren desert.
The Halemaumau crater on the southern side of Kilauea is the home of the fire goddess Pele. According to Hawaiian legend, a volcano will erupt if she gets in a bad temper
Lava flows have caused permanent changes to the landscape around Kilauea. Red-glowing magma, reaching temperatures of some 2200°F/1200°C, forces its way almost constantly through lateral channels to the outside, streams out of holes down the sides of the volcano and leaks out of weak spots known as fissures. Lava sometimes flows through small valleys, which become filled in, and can destroy entire forests. But at the same time a new floor forms on which vegetation can grow, as demonstrated by the Destruction Trail in the National Park.
Hawaii Volcanoes Eruptions
The last violent eruptions of the Kilauea crater occurred in 1790 and 1924, since when it has not appeared active. However, the neighboring Halemaumau crater in the middle of Kilhauea Caldera, is more active.
Since July 1986 a new series of eruptions has spewed enormous quantities of lava up on to the surface. The island has grown by about 358,800sq.yd/300,000sq.m. Kilauea is one of the most impressive volcanoes in the world and its activities can be observed everywhere in the national park. Witnessing a fire-spitting eruption, however, would prove highly unlikely as these occur, on average, only once every eleven months.
In April 1990 all the houses in the coastal village of Kalapana and the greater part of the world-famous Kaimu Black Sand Beach were destroyed.
On March 19, 2008, there was a small explosion in Halemaʻumaʻu crater, the first explosive event since 1924 and the first eruption in the Kilauea caldera since September 1982. The explosion did not release any lava, which suggests to scientists that it was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.This explosion event followed the opening of a major sulfur dioxide gas vent.
Despite all this the recent eruptions are considered mild compared with earlier ones. It was reported in 1790 that Keoua, a Hawaiian island chief was resting with his troops near Kilauea when they were surprised by an eruption. The majority of the army was killed.
Visitor center & museum
The main Visitor Center, located just within the park entrance , includes displays and information about the features of the park. The nearby Volcano Art Center houses historical displays and an art gallery. The Thomas A.
Jaggar Museum, located a few miles west on Crater Rim Drive, features more exhibits and a close view of the Kilauea’s active vent Halemaʻumaʻu. The observatory is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and is not open to the public. Bookstores are located in the main visitor’s center and the Jaggar Museum. The Kilauea Military Camp provides accommodations for U.S. military personnel.
Current methods of assessing natural phenomena such as volcanoes and earthquakes have prevented any loss of life through volcanic eruptions on Hawaii in recent times.