Hawaii was formed by a string of lava flows from a group of volcanoes in the ocean. Some of these volcanoes are still active today including Mauna Loa which still forms land on the Island of Hawaii in Hawaii (otherwise known as the big island). The living history of Hawaii has been captured and turned into a small museum in the Hawaii volcanoes national park which is a world heritage site. It doesn’t really need much protecting though as anything built onto it would probably be melted down in the future!
Throughout Hawaii’s history, towns have literally been burned down by molten lava. In recent history the Kīlauea volcano took out Kaimū and Kalapana in 1990. These days, the main activity comes from Puʻu ʻŌʻō which has been flowing out into the ocean until very recently.
The federal run Hawaii volcanoes national park is good value but only requires a day visit unless a week long ascent to the top of Mauna Loa is on the cards. There is not that much to see any more as the lava activity is the main selling point of any volcanic attraction and there is none happening at the park. I still think it’s worth a visit before driving down to the end of route 130 to catch any lava flowing into the ocean which may happen again in 2011 onwards.
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