In Kilauea Iki Crater
Probably my most memorable experience on Hawai‘i was walking down into, across, and up out of the Kilauea Iki Crater in the rain. The misty atmospheric quality was far more of a visual impact for me than bright sun. In 1959 this was a lake of molten lava with gushing fountains spouting hundreds of feet, at one point nearly 2,000 feet. After the eruption ceased and the lava cooled, it collapsed into itself a bit, causing great cracks in the surface. The floor of the crater is now about 400 feet below the surrounding forested rim. Before the eruption started, the crater floor was 800 feet down and forested. Now, 57 years later, life is starting to return. Red-flowered ‘ōhi‘a plants are taking root in small cracks which have filled with a little soil.
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