Fields of Hawaii: Steam Fields

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
This field is smokin' hot!

Our Fields of Hawaii Series gets hot and steamy today with a look at Hawaii’s fields of steam. You’ll find these surprising landscape of steam vents at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. (See my tips for visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.) You’ll see them dotted throughout the park. The steam vents shown in these photos are just east of the visitor’s center off Crater Rim Drive.

The steam comes from cracks in the rock and ground of the Kilauea Caldera. Rainwater seeps through the ground and is heated by rocks which carry heat from the liquid rock below. The heated water then rises through the cracks to condense in the chilled air.

Watching the earth steam is a surreal scene and a reminder that that you are standing on an active volcano!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Steam wafts up from the ground in one of many vents in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This post is part of our ongoing series looking at the expected and unexpected fields that make Hawaii unique. Other posts in this series are:

4 comments
  1. To add to your hot spot story. Theres the Puhimau thermal hot spot. Magma deep below this area is pooled and slowly started killing off all of the vegetation many years ago. The ground in the area is very warm and soft. When you first start down Chain of Craters road its the clearing on your right with all of the steam. This area may be closed at this time to hiking. I explored it several years ago and took some photos. http://lavapix.com/2/34b22/#/gallery/hvnp-puhimau-thermal-hotspot-stock/ The Sulfur Banks trail also has good views of steaming areas. Always best in the early morning for steam viewing. http://lavapix.com/2/349ad/#/gallery/hvnp-sulfur-banks-trail-stock/

    1. Bryan – at HNVP, I read a plaque that said that the fact that there’s only grass in the area suggests that the ground is too hot for trees to survive. It’s such a fascinating place!

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