Green Lake was, until June 2 last year, Hawaii’s biggest freshwater lake. This isn’t a dramatic claim since freshwater lakes are in short supply in Hawaii. There are only two freshwater lakes on the Big Island, the other being Lake Waiau, near the summit of Mauna Kea. Green Lake had a surface area of about 2 acres and was no more than 20 feet deep in the center, but it was a popular spot with both locals and tourists who liked to swim and picnic there.
The lava flow from last year’s eruption in lower Puna at first curled around the pu’u, the center of which was Green Lake. But on June 2, the flow breeched the surrounds, boiled away the water and filled it with lava.
The top photo shows that pu’u that contained Green lake, now filled with lava. The bottom photo shows Green Lake in relation to the flow and the area around it. The lava came from the upper left of the photo. It flowed around the pu’u and entered the lake from the southeast. The photo also shows how the flow reached the coast. The area in the top right of the photo used to be Kapoho Bay and its surrounding housing. A white speck is visible on the edge of this flow, which is one of only three houses there that survived the flow’s destructive progress.
At the bottom of the lower photo is untouched land, including a road that runs into, and now terminates, at the flow’s edge.