Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Steam Vents

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After visiting Volcano House and the park’s visitor center in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, our tour continued on to the Steam Vents parking lot. We walked through a grassy meadow to the caldera’s edge.

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From this paved path, we could see steam billowing out of the earth in places.  A few feet down, the ground is so hot that trees can’t take root here, but the tall grasses thrive.

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The steam vents are caused by groundwater seeping through to the hot volcanic rock below. When it makes contact with the hot rocks, it is expelled back up through fractures in the earth as steam.

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At Steaming Bluff, a cliff overlooking the caldera, we paused for some photos of the crater. Then we walked a short way on the trail leading away from the overlook along the rim.

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You can’t go very far on the rim trail because the 2018 eruption destabilized parts of it. The Jaggar museum still sits on this trail, a little further down, but it is no longer structurally sound and so is closed to visitors.

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After we’d seen our fill of smoldering fields, we headed back to the bus for our next destination in the park.

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Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents
  •  Kīlauea Iki (Coming Soon)
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

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Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

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Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park: Volcano House

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Volcano House is a historic lodge in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the rim of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater. The hotel began as a simple shelter in 1846, 30 years after the park was established.

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In 1866, the shelter was replaced with a four bedroom hotel and hosted famous guests, including Mark Twain. Twain wrote about it in his autobiographical travelogue of some of his ealry adventures.

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The hotel burned down in 1940 and was rebuilt as a 24-room lodge a year later.

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When our cruise ship docked in Hilo, we took an excursion with Robert’s Hawaii to the National Park. Our fist stop was to the visitor center. After looking at the displays there, we walked across the street to Volcano House.

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From the veranda in back of the hotel, we had our first glimpse of the massive crater. Native Hawaiians believe the volcano to be the home of Pelehonuamea, the fire goddess. Legend has it that Pele fled to Kilauea from her home after angering her sister, the goddess of the sea.

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Visitors are prohibited from taking the lava rocks, lest they anger Pele. When I visited here in the 80’s, before the 2018 eruption closed the Jaggar Museum, I’d seen a display of letters to Pele from around the world, apologizing for taking her rocks after experiencing a string of bad luck. This rule is enforced more seriously today..a man in front of us in dock security was stopped from boarding the ship because he was caught with rocks in his pockets.

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In 2018, Kilauea erupted explosively, destroyed over 700 homes and extended the island a mile further into the sea as the lava lake in Halema’uma’u crater drained and flowed to the ocean.This was the culmination of a 35-year-long eruption that began in 1983. There is currently no molten lava to be seen here, but there is steam rising from the volcano which is still considered active.

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Hilo Posts:

  • Volcano House
  • Steam Vents (Coming Soon)
  •  Kīlauea Iki (Coming Soon)
  • Chain of Craters Road (Coming Soon)
  • Big Island Candies (Coming Soon)
  • Rainbow Falls (Coming Soon)
  • Richardson’s Black Sand Beach (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuola (Coming Soon)

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Location: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcano, HI 96718

Designation: National Park

Date established/designated: August 1, 1916

Date of my visit: April 16, 2019

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