Lava is like a box of chocolates

You never know what you are going to find when you go searching for lava flowing on Hawaii’s Big Island.  Though Kilauea has been erupting consistently for decades, you can’t really predict when and where lava will pop up or disappear next.  In this article, we’ll take a look at the same lava viewing point from mid-March compared to early June.

The Go Visit Hawaii official photographer and fabulous husband, Andy, took the photo below in mid-March.  In that photo, you can distinctly see lava flowing on the surface (right side of photo) and into the ocean at multiple points. 


Now, let’s take a look at a photo snapped last week at the very same lava viewing point.  (Photo credit to a very nice reader, B. Marks from North Carolina.)  Several hours before this photo,  an unstable hardened lava landmass collapsed in to the ocean.  As you can see from the photo, the lava viewing is indirect, but you can still see the very impressive red glow.  Note that you can’t see any surface flows, because lava eventually created underground tubes over time.


Per the Kilauea volcano status report on Monday, June 9th,

officials reported that the active Waikupanaha ocean entry has now built out farther allowing direct views of lava flowing into the ocean and explosions from the Viewing Area.

So, there you can see, lava viewing is very unpredictable.  I suppose that’s part of the intrigue of an active volcano. 

If you are going to the Big Island to see the current lava flow, try to build in some flexibility into your itinerary, if you can.  Check daily updates online and by calling (808) 961-8093.  Also, see my tips for viewing the Big Island lava flow.

  1. While the current viewing conditions may not be as great as what we saw back in March, it’s still pretty impressive.

    I remember our first trip to the Big Island, all we could see was some VERY distant red glow–to this day, I swear it was just a Park Ranger over the hill with a red-L.E.D. flashlight. 😉

  2. Something to remember is that the volcano has been erupting for about 20 years now. Even though it doesn’t show any signs of stopping, it could stop at any minute. So… Don’t procrastinate on visiting the Big Island for too long or the opportunity might be lost.

  3. @ Andy – bwahaha!

    @ Dave – excellent point! We can’t just assume that the lava will continue to flow indefinitely. I have to say that seeing lava flowing on the Big Island would have to rank in the top 10 most fascinating things I’ve ever seen.

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