The Making of Land: Where Kilauea Volcano Meets the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii

During my recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii I had the amazing opportunity to hike with Darcy Ottey out to where the active volcano on the island, Kilauea, is currently releasing lava which is flowing into the Pacific Ocean. A 2 mile hike by starlight over basalt from earlier lava flows brought us to a primordial setting. Following an eerie orange glow we arrived at what truly could be described as the edge of the earth--a landscape made up of stars and sky, the pounding waves of the ocean and glowing lava pouring over 60 foot basalt cliffs into the sea, releasing plums of steam as it met the water. Before our eyes we watched flowing lava harden into rock and the coastline expand ever so slightly. As daylight came intermittent rain squalls, driven by a warm off shore wind brought a spectacular rainbow seemingly rising out of the glowing cliffs. It was definitely an experience I will never forget. Moskowitz-3292

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Basalt from recent lava flows from the eastern rift on Kiluaea. Hawaii

Basalt from recent lava flows from the eastern rift on Kiluaea. Hawaii

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Kilauea's Main Crater

Miles to the west of Kilauea's eastern rift which is releasing the lava flowing into the ocean, the volcano's main crater is also a spectacular sight, perhaps most magnificent at night when the glow of the pool of lava within it illuminates the steam and smoke rising from the crater.

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The glow of magma within the crater of Kiluaea lights up the rising smoke as the first hints of dawn begin to light up the night sky.

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David Moskowitz

David Moskowitz, Winthrop, WA, 98862