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Published: March 29th 2010
We went back to visit Volcanoes National Park again since much of it was closed due to high levels of sulphur dioxide gas the first time we were there. Part of Crater Rim Drive is still closed, and will remain closed for quite a while due to the activity of the Halema’uma’u Crater which is within the Kiluea Caldera. We were able this time to drive around the north part of Crater Rim drive, and see the steam vents, the visitor centre where we got up-to-date information about the volcano’s activity, and the Jagger Museum which has a great viewpoint looking down right into the Caldera and the steaming active crater. At night, they say you can see the red glow from the lava which is about 20 meters below the surface. It was an impressive sight.
However, no matter how far you walk, you can’t see active lava right now as it isn’t flowing much. The only way you can see it is from the air. We did finally take a helicopter tour, and saw a tiny little bit of red lava, and also saw the Kiluea Caldera from the air. We also saw a couple of towns that
had been overtaken by lava - one house the guy still lives in and has a B&B that you can visit by helicopter since the road was covered with lava. The other town, closer to Chain of Craters Road, has people living in their houses also, and a few of them are for sale if you want to live on still hot black lava! Don’t be tempted - we were told that this town is highly likely to get buried again in the next big lava flow.
Eventually, plants take hold and grow in the cracks, and this helps to break up the hard crust of lava and create rich volcanic soil - in a few hundred years or so! Still, it is pretty cool to see the little plants poking their heads up from the lava!
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