Going to see the fireworks

The lava cone and lake at Kilauea Volcano in late 2021
The lava cone and lake at Kilauea Volcano in late 2021
The lava cone and lake at Kilauea Volcano in late 2021

Yesterday was Guy Fawkes Day in Britain and to celebrate I finally got to see some fireworks, albeit of a very different kind and in the wee hours of the morning instead of the traditional Bonfire Night.
I got up just after 1 a.m., left the house around 2 a.m. and drove over to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I mostly had a beautiful starlit night for the drive except for about 15 minutes over the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa when I was driving through cloud and not entirely sure whether there was any other traffic despite barreling along at 60 mph.

I made good time, arriving at the park around 4:30 a.m. and the viewing point about 15 minutes later. There were around 20 people already there, but a prime viewing spot was open so I set up my tripod and camera and began taking photos.

The viewing area was a place I’d stopped by during the previous eruption in December 2020. That spot only allowed a view of the glow of the eruption, which was lower in the crater. This time the eruption was higher up and the trail had been extended so that a good view could be had of both the eruption site and the crater floor the lava was flowing onto.

The eruption began on September 29, 2021 through a series of vents, but by October 4 this had settled down to two vents and by October 6 to the single vent in the west wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater seen in these photos.

The eruption has added about 184 feet of lava to the previous lava lake level and though it appears to have slowed a tad lately, it still put on a good show with a good deal of spattering and some smaller fountains of lava. The active vent has formed its own cone with lava spilling into the lake through a gap in the cone. Recently, a bridge formed over that cone so that the lava spills out though a short tunnel as can be seen in these photos.

I stuck around until the sun rose high enough to illuminate the slopes of Mauna Loa and then headed back to the car. After a spot of hiking, the return drive and some shopping in Waimea. I got home around 2:30 p.m.. A long day, but well worth it in my book.

19 thoughts on “Going to see the fireworks

  1. Pingback: Halema’uma’u Crater view | Graham's Island

    1. Graham Post author

      I don’t recall hearing anything at all! The vent was about 1.5 miles away and I was upwind with a strong (cold!) breeze blowing. I imagine the scientists, who get closer to monitor the eruption, probably hear some noise.

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    1. Graham Post author

      This activity is in the same area you were looking at. The glow is visible from several points in the park, but to see the active vent and flow, this is the only place to be.

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    1. Graham Post author

      I’ve been thinking I should find a way to connect Guy Fawkes Night to Hawaii because Hawaiians love fireworks and I’m certain they’d embrace another opportunity to set them off!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Graham Post author

      I’d love to see the Northern Lights, but it’s not going to happen here. A somewhat more benign firework display than the volcano I think, though the current eruption is very well mannered.

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