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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Aloha from Hawaii,

On Friday July 4th I felt it was my patriotic duty to visit a national park on our nations birthday. Happy Birthday America!  I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses two active volcanoes.  The first is Kilauea which is one of the most active volcanoes on earth, and Mauna Loawhich is the largest volcano on earth.  

After entering the park, there is a very informative directory area which explains the terrain, roads and major points of interest to visit.  The first sight to visit are the thermal vents which emit a constant flow of steam.  The one closest to the parking lot smelled of sulfur, and was filled with change that people were throwing in for good luck.  The others were set back from the road a bit and were more in a natural setting.

The main road (Crater Rim Drive) that used to form a nice loop around the park has been closed (permanently??) because an explosion occured in the Halemaumau Crater.  This explosion was follwed by an opening of a giant sulfur vent, and poisonous sulfur dioxide is spilling from this vent and closing off a good portion of the park.  Several roads and trails are now closed because of this since 2008, pretty wild.

The main attraction is the Thomas Jaggar Museum, which overlooks the caldera.  After taking several photos of the smoldering earth, I toured the inside of the museum which has several cool artifacts (from when a scientist fell into lava and lived to tell) and a ton of very thorough scientific displays.

After touring the museum we hit the road again, and headed towards the lava tube and craters. Thurston Lava Tube is about 20 feet wide and 1/3 mile long.  Walking through was pretty eerie, but cool nonetheless. This portion of the road also had several overlooks with gigantic craters that are remnants of previously active caldera's, extremely nice to see.

This pretty much sums up the park experience.

Off for the weekend.  

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    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - NOAA Science Research in Hawaii - natureofthought
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