Sulphur Banks Trail

One of the trails I took on my last visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was the Sulphur Banks Trail, otherwise known as Ha’akulamanu Trail. It’s not far from the visitor center and so is usually popular with visitors because it’s an easy walk, about 1.2 miles roundtrip, and pretty level the whole way. But with few visitors around currently, I had the trail to myself.

This trail is one of several areas in the park where signs of volcanic heat can be seen even when there’s not an active eruption. Steam swirls upwards. The smell of rotten eggs indicates the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air, one of the volcanic gases leaking from the ground along with sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide.

The yellow tint of the ground is due to the sulphurous gases and close examination reveals the sulphur crystals that have been deposited there. The crystals photo was taken at one of the displays along the trail. It wouldn’t be wise to thrust one’s camera too close to one of the active vents, such as those in the bottom photo.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.

Posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘Close Examination.’ See more responses here.

11 thoughts on “Sulphur Banks Trail

  1. Forestwood

    I have not seen this before. Only the tourist photos of places like New Zealand where it is white in colour. Amazing colour but I believe the smell is overpowering. Is Steam and heat the reason not to approach the vents, Graham?

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    1. Graham Post author

      The smell wasn’t too bad when I was there. They don’t want people walking off the trails because they’d damage the somewhat fragile ecosystem there, and yes, it is dangerous. I took a photo of one of the signs, which I’ll post sometime, but it’s about some kid who stepped in one of the vents and got badly burned. It is steam and steam is scalding hot.

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      1. Forestwood

        Having been burnt with steam from the steam steriliser, on my inside arm, ironically whilst working as a Nurse in the Burns Unit at the time, I can imagine what the boy went through. Burns are awful. And great they are protecting the fragile ecosystem. Are there many such places in your state?

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Graham Post author

          Almost all these kinds of things are associated with Kilauea Volcano, which is where the park is. It’s the most active volcano on the island.

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