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Hawaii - Kilauea volcano: tour photos March 2018

Geologist and VolcanoDiscovery tour guide Dr Ingrid Smet took a small group of travelers on a 7 days exploration of Kilauea shield volcano on the Big Island, Hawaii, from 17 to 23 March 2018. Below you find her photo diary of the VolcanoAdventures tour 'Pele's Fire and Myths' which explores both historic eruption sites of Kilauea as the ongoing volcanic activity at its summit and East Rift Zone as well as local fauna and flora, traditions and mythology.
Check our next group departures if you want to join in on one of our Hawaii volcano adventures and explore these fascinating volcanoes with one of our experienced volcano guides!
Group photo in the Kazumura caves in front of a double, or tube in tube, lava cave (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Group photo in the Kazumura caves in front of a double, or tube in tube, lava cave (Photo: Ingrid Sm... [info]
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After arrival in the afternoon our little group meets up and we go to the Jagger Museum lookout to have a first peak at the active lava lake of Halema'uma'u inside Kilauea's summit caldera (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
After arrival in the afternoon our little group meets up and we go to the Jagger Museum lookout to h... [info]
(360 Hits)
As the level of the lava lake in Halema'uma'u is once again high, we can occasionally see lava spattering upwards when large gas bubbles burst through the lake's surface (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
As the level of the lava lake in Halema'uma'u is once again high, we can occasionally see lava spatt... [info]
(362 Hits)
After sunset the red glow above the active lava lake emerges with the increasing darkness (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
After sunset the red glow above the active lava lake emerges with the increasing darkness (Photo: In... [info]
(397 Hits)
Silhouette of an ohia lehua tree against the red glow above Halema'uma'u crater (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Silhouette of an ohia lehua tree against the red glow above Halema'uma'u crater (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(367 Hits)
A good breakfast to start our first full day of exploring Kilauea's historic eruption sites! (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
A good breakfast to start our first full day of exploring Kilauea's historic eruption sites! (Photo:... [info]
(372 Hits)
Traditional Hawaiian flower garlands, lei, adorn the balustrade of the Kilauea Iki crater lookout (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Traditional Hawaiian flower garlands, lei, adorn the balustrade of the Kilauea Iki crater lookout (P... [info]
(352 Hits)
Sunlight falls through the foliage of the fern trees which are present everywhere in the rainforest vegetation around Kileaua Iki crater (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Sunlight falls through the foliage of the fern trees which are present everywhere in the rainforest ... [info]
(317 Hits)
The vent from which the magma was ejected in tall lava fountains (up to 580 m into the sky!) quickly build up this large scoria cone that now dominates the Kilauea Iki crater (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The vent from which the magma was ejected in tall lava fountains (up to 580 m into the sky!) quickly... [info]
(337 Hits)
The ohia lehua trees in this part of the Kilauea Iki crater rim were spared from lava bombardements (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The ohia lehua trees in this part of the Kilauea Iki crater rim were spared from lava bombardements ... [info]
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The Kilauea Iki trail first takes you along the crater rim through the dense rain forest of fern trees and ohia lehua... (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The Kilauea Iki trail first takes you along the crater rim through the dense rain forest of fern tre... [info]
(290 Hits)
...before taking you down where you have this view of the crater floor with the 1959 vent in the scoria cone to the right, opposite from which part of the was covered by lava bombs (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
...before taking you down where you have this view of the crater floor with the 1959 vent in the sco... [info]
(268 Hits)
The Kilauea Iki 1959 lavas carried a lot of gasses, now frozen as vesicles in the cooled rocks, as well as countless green olivine crystals (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The Kilauea Iki 1959 lavas carried a lot of gasses, now frozen as vesicles in the cooled rocks, as w... [info]
(281 Hits)
Ohia lehua is among the first trees to colonise new lava fields, its bright red blossom being a symbol for Hawaii (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Ohia lehua is among the first trees to colonise new lava fields, its bright red blossom being a symb... [info]
(309 Hits)
A young ohia lehua tree growing in the 1959 lava flows in the foreground and a forest of older ohia lehua trees that survived the 1959 eruption on the Kilauea Iki crater rim in the background (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
A young ohia lehua tree growing in the 1959 lava flows in the foreground and a forest of older ohia ... [info]
(307 Hits)
ON the Kilauea Iki crater floor close to the scoria cone there are large stacks of lava lake surface that were left behind as islands during the multiple times that the lake drained back into the vent in between lava fountaining that filled up the lake (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
ON the Kilauea Iki crater floor close to the scoria cone there are large stacks of lava lake surface... [info]
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The final draining of lava back into the vent cracked and pushed up the lava lake's cooled crust as it sank down (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The final draining of lava back into the vent cracked and pushed up the lava lake's cooled crust as ... [info]
(267 Hits)
Steam rises up along some of the cracks in the lava lake's surface, precipitating white mineralisations of mostly calcium sulfates and silica (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Steam rises up along some of the cracks in the lava lake's surface, precipitating white mineralisati... [info]
(266 Hits)
Some of the 'islands' of stacked lava lake surface are covered in these white mineralisations and scolding hot fumaroles of steam (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Some of the 'islands' of stacked lava lake surface are covered in these white mineralisations and sc... [info]
(263 Hits)
Last look back at Kilauea Iki crater and the path that we just walked across it (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Last look back at Kilauea Iki crater and the path that we just walked across it (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
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New leaves of fern trees start out as these rolled up branches covered in incredibly soft woolly tissue that captures moisture and is typical for this plant (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
New leaves of fern trees start out as these rolled up branches covered in incredibly soft woolly tis... [info]
(243 Hits)
Pink flowers growing on the lava droplets that rained down from tall lava fountains during the Kilauea Iki eruption (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Pink flowers growing on the lava droplets that rained down from tall lava fountains during the Kilau... [info]
(247 Hits)
After the exploring the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki we hae a short visit to some of the water falls near Hilo (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
After the exploring the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki we hae a short visit to some of the water falls... [info]
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Rainbow Falls near Hilo (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Rainbow Falls near Hilo (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
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The park around Rainbow Falls also harbours these majestic trees... (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The park around Rainbow Falls also harbours these majestic trees... (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(225 Hits)
...which have a maze of vertical branches that come down and help rooting the treese (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
...which have a maze of vertical branches that come down and help rooting the treese (Photo: Ingrid ... [info]
(219 Hits)
We return to Halema'uma'u lava lake before dawn early in the morning of the second day (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
We return to Halema'uma'u lava lake before dawn early in the morning of the second day (Photo: Ingri... [info]
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During the night time the red glow above Halema'uma'u lava lake is very strong (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
During the night time the red glow above Halema'uma'u lava lake is very strong (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
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As dawn arrives and the sky gets increasingly light, the lava lake's red glow looses its intensity (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
As dawn arrives and the sky gets increasingly light, the lava lake's red glow looses its intensity (... [info]
(211 Hits)
Sunrise on the morning of the 10 year anniversary of the return of a lava lake in Halema'uma'u crater is quite impressive! (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Sunrise on the morning of the 10 year anniversary of the return of a lava lake in Halema'uma'u crate... [info]
(210 Hits)
Our group watching sunrise above Kilauea's summit caldera and the activity in Halema'uma'u crater (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Our group watching sunrise above Kilauea's summit caldera and the activity in Halema'uma'u crater (P... [info]
(246 Hits)
Although not visible from the Jagger Museum lookout, the level of the lava lake is so high that we can occasionally catch spattering at its surface (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Although not visible from the Jagger Museum lookout, the level of the lava lake is so high that we c... [info]
(229 Hits)
Nene, the Hawaiian state bird, going for a morning stroll (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Nene, the Hawaiian state bird, going for a morning stroll (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(208 Hits)
The summit of Mauna Loa is often covered with a blanket of clouds (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The summit of Mauna Loa is often covered with a blanket of clouds (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(173 Hits)
Once the sun is up there is no more red glow visible above Halema'uma'u vent, only a blueish plume of sulphur dioxide and water vapour suggest the presence of an actively boiling lava lake (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Once the sun is up there is no more red glow visible above Halema'uma'u vent, only a blueish plume o... [info]
(189 Hits)
Kilauea's caldera rim is vegetated with tropical forests of ohia lehua and fern trees (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Kilauea's caldera rim is vegetated with tropical forests of ohia lehua and fern trees (Photo: Ingrid... [info]
(180 Hits)
Hawaii is the home of vibrantly coloured birds such as this descendant of the finch family, a cardinal (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Hawaii is the home of vibrantly coloured birds such as this descendant of the finch family, a cardin... [info]
(175 Hits)
Many birds use the early hours of the day to feast on the nectar of the lehua blossoms (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Many birds use the early hours of the day to feast on the nectar of the lehua blossoms (Photo: Ingri... [info]
(175 Hits)
'Steaming Bluff' is a section alont the northern edge of Kilauea's summit caldera where hot water vapour rises up from cracks (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
'Steaming Bluff' is a section alont the northern edge of Kilauea's summit caldera where hot water va... [info]
(196 Hits)
Specially adapted plants grow abundantly in these steam vent pockets of hotter and more humid conditions (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Specially adapted plants grow abundantly in these steam vent pockets of hotter and more humid condit... [info]
(166 Hits)
The precipitated sulphur crystals will have a needle like appearance as long as their ambient temperature is higher than 90 degrees C (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The precipitated sulphur crystals will have a needle like appearance as long as their ambient temper... [info]
(193 Hits)
Sulphur Banks is a small hide dotted with bright yellow sulphur deposits forming from the volcanic gasses that rise up through surface (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Sulphur Banks is a small hide dotted with bright yellow sulphur deposits forming from the volcanic g... [info]
(157 Hits)
Sulphur crystals precipitate around an actively degassing fumarole (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Sulphur crystals precipitate around an actively degassing fumarole (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(161 Hits)
The droplets found at the sulphur deposits and fumarolic vents are (weak) sulphuric acid from which sulphur crystals can precipitate (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The droplets found at the sulphur deposits and fumarolic vents are (weak) sulphuric acid from which ... [info]
(155 Hits)
The ocean front at Hilo, the largest town on the Big Island, during a grey and stormy evening (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The ocean front at Hilo, the largest town on the Big Island, during a grey and stormy evening (Photo... [info]
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The town of Hilo has mostly 1 to 2 storey buildings that were constructed in the early 20th century (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The town of Hilo has mostly 1 to 2 storey buildings that were constructed in the early 20th century ... [info]
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Colourful grafiti adorns many walls in the centre of Hilo town (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Colourful grafiti adorns many walls in the centre of Hilo town (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(177 Hits)
On the third day we explore a part of the largest lava cave system in the worl at Kazumura caves (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
On the third day we explore a part of the largest lava cave system in the worl at Kazumura caves (Ph... [info]
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In order to explore the different levels of the complex lava cave we need to climb up and down these ladders (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
In order to explore the different levels of the complex lava cave we need to climb up and down these... [info]
(150 Hits)
Photographing the lavasicles hanging down from the tunnel's ceiling (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Photographing the lavasicles hanging down from the tunnel's ceiling (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(159 Hits)
In some parts of the lava tube the dynamics of slowly dripping lava created these delicate lava droplets (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
In some parts of the lava tube the dynamics of slowly dripping lava created these delicate lava drop... [info]
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Harry giving us a preview of the lava cave dwelling creatures that we might encounter during our exploration (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Harry giving us a preview of the lava cave dwelling creatures that we might encounter during our exp... [info]
(164 Hits)
Exploring the Kazumura lava caves (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Exploring the Kazumura lava caves (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(190 Hits)
The walls in some parts of the lava cave show this interesting texture that was formed during different phases of lava flowing through the tunnel at a range of speeds and levels (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The walls in some parts of the lava cave show this interesting texture that was formed during differ... [info]
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Studying the textures of the lava tube ceiling and its mineralisations (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Studying the textures of the lava tube ceiling and its mineralisations (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(172 Hits)
Kazumura lava cave kitty is glad to see we made it back in one piece! (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Kazumura lava cave kitty is glad to see we made it back in one piece! (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
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Standing at the very site where in 1969 the fissure of the Mauna Ulu eruption ripped through the earth's surface and created high lava fountains! (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Standing at the very site where in 1969 the fissure of the Mauna Ulu eruption ripped through the ear... [info]
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The ca 50 year old lava fields of the Mauna Ulu eruption have since been recolonised by the typical lava begetation: ohia lehua trees and ferns (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The ca 50 year old lava fields of the Mauna Ulu eruption have since been recolonised by the typical ... [info]
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Imprints of their trunks is all that is left of the ohia lehu trees that were growing here prior to the Mauna Ulu eruption but got flooded by the lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Imprints of their trunks is all that is left of the ohia lehu trees that were growing here prior to ... [info]
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Orchids near the Mauna Ulu lava fields (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Orchids near the Mauna Ulu lava fields (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
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The 5 years long Mauna Ulu eruption created vast new lava fields, parts of which are hollow tunnels left behind when the eruption stopped and the lava drained away (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The 5 years long Mauna Ulu eruption created vast new lava fields, parts of which are hollow tunnels ... [info]
(163 Hits)
View from the lava fields near the coast towards the pali from which the darker coloured Mauna Ulu lava flows ran down in the early 1970s (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
View from the lava fields near the coast towards the pali from which the darker coloured Mauna Ulu l... [info]
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Exploring the lava fields formed during different eruptions from the East Rift Zone (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Exploring the lava fields formed during different eruptions from the East Rift Zone (Photo: Ingrid S... [info]
(148 Hits)
Yellow flowers in the coastal lava fields (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Yellow flowers in the coastal lava fields (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(134 Hits)
Petroglyphs carved into the lava flows by native Hawaiians (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Petroglyphs carved into the lava flows by native Hawaiians (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(151 Hits)
When lava flows travel towards the ocean and come down the pali they do so taking the lower grounds, sometimes leaving behind 'kipukas' patches of older forests that are slight elevated (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
When lava flows travel towards the ocean and come down the pali they do so taking the lower grounds,... [info]
(137 Hits)
By the time we reach the end of the Chain of Craters road the sun has set and the active lava flows currently coming down the pali become visible as red glowing dots in the far distance (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
By the time we reach the end of the Chain of Craters road the sun has set and the active lava flows ... [info]
(135 Hits)
On day 4 we leave early from Hilo and drive down to the southernmost point of the Big Island (and thereby the United States) (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
On day 4 we leave early from Hilo and drive down to the southernmost point of the Big Island (and th... [info]
(124 Hits)
Light blue flowers at the southern coastline (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Light blue flowers at the southern coastline (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(133 Hits)
In the distance we can already see the cinder cone that formed during a rift eruption of Mauna Loa 10000s of years ago and from which the green sands are derived (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
In the distance we can already see the cinder cone that formed during a rift eruption of Mauna Loa 1... [info]
(149 Hits)
Our group in front of the green sands beach scoria cone and bay (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Our group in front of the green sands beach scoria cone and bay (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(135 Hits)
The layers of the scoria cone are build up of black lava droplets with green olivine crystals, the latter being heavier than the former and hence getting left behind and accumulated during wind and water action (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The layers of the scoria cone are build up of black lava droplets with green olivine crystals, the l... [info]
(480 Hits)
Despite it being a small bay inside a cinder cone the waves at Green Sands beach can still be very strong (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Despite it being a small bay inside a cinder cone the waves at Green Sands beach can still be very s... [info]
(146 Hits)
Close-up of the green sand at Green Sand Beach, made up mostly of green olivine crystals besides some black lava grains and white shell pieces (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Close-up of the green sand at Green Sand Beach, made up mostly of green olivine crystals besides som... [info]
(139 Hits)
Black Sand Beach is located to the northeast of Green Sand Beach and is entirely constructed of grains of black lava (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Black Sand Beach is located to the northeast of Green Sand Beach and is entirely constructed of grai... [info]
(154 Hits)
Unfortunately, the famous green sea turtles that are usually sunbathing at Black Sand Beach were nowhere to be found (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Unfortunately, the famous green sea turtles that are usually sunbathing at Black Sand Beach were now... [info]
(157 Hits)
Dawn arrives as we get closer to the pali and the red hot glowing lavas that run down from it (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Dawn arrives as we get closer to the pali and the red hot glowing lavas that run down from it (Photo... [info]
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Group foto upon arriving at a great location at the bottom of the pali where we will be observing numerous active lava flows for the following 3,5 hours! (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Group foto upon arriving at a great location at the bottom of the pali where we will be observing nu... [info]
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Sunrise announces another adventurous day on the Big Island (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Sunrise announces another adventurous day on the Big Island (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(184 Hits)
Standing so close to active lava flows is quite a unique experience (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Standing so close to active lava flows is quite a unique experience (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(269 Hits)
Red hot pahoehoe lava oozing out from underneath a recently cooled crust (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Red hot pahoehoe lava oozing out from underneath a recently cooled crust (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(256 Hits)
View from the active lava flows we observed at the bottom of the hill towards the pali where more lava is coming down (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
View from the active lava flows we observed at the bottom of the hill towards the pali where more la... [info]
(202 Hits)
The active pahoehoe lava flow fronts that we found are advancing right next to an older aa lava flow (blocky dark lava to the right and in the foreground) (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The active pahoehoe lava flow fronts that we found are advancing right next to an older aa lava flow... [info]
(240 Hits)
As the crust of a lava flow cools whilst its interior is till moving forward, it gets crumpled and spun into intricate textures (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
As the crust of a lava flow cools whilst its interior is till moving forward, it gets crumpled and s... [info]
(223 Hits)
At the front of the pahoehoe lava flow the fresh thin silvery crust gets folded into ropes (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
At the front of the pahoehoe lava flow the fresh thin silvery crust gets folded into ropes (Photo: I... [info]
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Observing and photographing the flow front of active pahoehoe lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Observing and photographing the flow front of active pahoehoe lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(216 Hits)
Close up of an intricately folded ropey lava crust and its still glowing hot interior (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Close up of an intricately folded ropey lava crust and its still glowing hot interior (Photo: Ingrid... [info]
(224 Hits)
Zoom into the red hot and still liquid interior of an active pahoehoe lava flow (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Zoom into the red hot and still liquid interior of an active pahoehoe lava flow (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(224 Hits)
A larger outbreak pours pahoehoe lava onto the older lava fields, its thin crust quickly wrinkling together in the typical ropey texture (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
A larger outbreak pours pahoehoe lava onto the older lava fields, its thin crust quickly wrinkling t... [info]
(220 Hits)
The active pahoehoe lava flows in front of the older blocky (dark brown) aa lava flow (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The active pahoehoe lava flows in front of the older blocky (dark brown) aa lava flow (Photo: Ingrid... [info]
(209 Hits)
When there is a steeper gradient, new break outs creat fast flowing rivers of molten pahoehoe lava (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
When there is a steeper gradient, new break outs creat fast flowing rivers of molten pahoehoe lava (... [info]
(205 Hits)
During the 3,5 hours that we observe and photograph this lava flow front it slowly but surely advanced a few 10s of metres towards the ocean (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
During the 3,5 hours that we observe and photograph this lava flow front it slowly but surely advanc... [info]
(180 Hits)
The 3 hour long hike across difficult terrain in continuing rain was worth it to get so up close to active pahoehoe lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The 3 hour long hike across difficult terrain in continuing rain was worth it to get so up close to ... [info]
(163 Hits)
Close up of an active lava outbreak (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Close up of an active lava outbreak (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(187 Hits)
Watching the lava flow front change and advance is really mesmerising (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Watching the lava flow front change and advance is really mesmerising (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(165 Hits)
Philip Ong, our experienced active lava flows guide, trying to dry up a little close to the active lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Philip Ong, our experienced active lava flows guide, trying to dry up a little close to the active l... [info]
(320 Hits)
We eventually have to drag ourselves away from the active lava flow fronts and start our 3 hour hike back to the end of the Chain of Craters road (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
We eventually have to drag ourselves away from the active lava flow fronts and start our 3 hour hike... [info]
(195 Hits)
We now understand much better the formation of intricate textures in the surface of older lava flows such as these (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
We now understand much better the formation of intricate textures in the surface of older lava flows... [info]
(180 Hits)
Hiking back across the older lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
Hiking back across the older lava flows (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(175 Hits)
The first plants to appear inside cooling cracks of new lava flows are ferns (Photo: Ingrid Smet)
The first plants to appear inside cooling cracks of new lava flows are ferns (Photo: Ingrid Smet) [info]
(182 Hits)
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