How to find out what’s going on with the lava on Hawaii’s Big Island

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There are few sights more impressive and exciting than observing hot lava ooze and flow on Hawaii’s Big Island. The words amazing and incredible are overused these days, but honestly, they both apply to the experience of watching lava flow. It’s a display that will surely have you saying wow over and over again.

So, how do you find out what’s going on with the lava flow? Fortunately, there are some great resources that provide frequently updated status of the volcanic activity on Hawaii. This list is all you need to stay in the know:

1. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Kilauea Status Reports is updated daily with all the Kilauea activity. It’s got quite a bit of scientific language, but you can still glean the basics of the volcano activity from the reports. Notice that from this site, you can access links to see semi-live (still photos captured and displayed every five or ten minutes) web cams volcano vents and craters – Puu Oo and Halemaumau.

2. County of Hawaii provides information on the Kalapana lava viewing site via their hotline — 808.961.8093. The hotline is regularly updated to let you know if lava is visible from the viewing area.

3.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Web site has a page dedicated to updating the volcano activity, but it isn’t updated as frequently as the others that I’ve already mentioned. When you are on Hawaii’s Big Island, I do recommend a visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (See tips for visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.) While you are there, do stop into the Visitor’s Center for a wealth of information and advice on Kilauea’s activity and lava viewing. The park rangers have some of the most up to date lava information.

Always bear in mind that volcanic activity is unpredictable. I think that’s part of the mystic of a volcano. So, do plan to be flexible when you visit Hawaii and want to see the lava flowing.

As you make your plans to see lava on the Big Island, be sure and review my tips for viewing the lava flow so that you’ll be properly prepared and safe.

Have you seen lava flowing on the Big Island? How would you describe the sight?


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About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

5 comments

  1. Great Post Sheila. I always like to remind people that even though the lava has been flowing for quite a while – It wont flow like this forever.

    • Thanks, Dave.

      I really don’t understand why the Big Island is not more popular. I mean, how much more exciting can it get with an active volcano?!

  2. I would have to agree! Nothing beats the excitement of having to see an active volcano. This place would be great for our next video shoot. Thanks for the great post.

  3. I am trying to find a website that tells us if there is active lava flow on the Big Island. We are coming to Hawaii early September 2012 and want to go to the Big Island for a evening Volcano tour so that we may see the glow of the lava. Is the lava still flowing and if not is it worth taking the tour? Thank You.

    • vancesaunt – did you read this article and click on the links? If so, it tells you that, at the moment, lava is actively flowing on the Big Island.

      Will lava be flowing on the Big Island where you can see it in September? No one can tell you that. When the time gets closer, check each of the links.

      As to whether a volcano tour is worth it, that’s a subjective question to try to answer. If the lava is easily accessible and you can see it own your own, then maybe it’s not worth spending the extra money.

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