Friday, August 11, 2006

Hot and Cold Lava in Hawaii

This is a story of travel to Hawaii, told for my Real Story blog for children who are intrigued by hot lava in a volcano.

One of our adventures has been to visit Hawaii Volcanos National Park. We have seen some of the lava that came out of a volcano a long time ago, and we have walked on rocky ground that was hot because the lava was still flowing underneath.

Once, as this picture shows, we saw lava dripping from a lava vent into the ocean, making a huge plume of steam. The steam is easy to see in the picture. If you click on this picture and see it enlarged, you can see a little red-hot lava running down the cliff by the ocean. Lava is melted rock. It is the hottest thing on earth, I think.

As you walk through the old lava fields, you smell funny smelling fumes coming up from cracks in the rock, because the volcanic action under the rocks produces all sorts of poison gas. It is very desolate but beautiful to walk through these large black rock fields. The gases leave colored marks on the black lava rock.

Farther from the most active volcano is old, cold lava. The lava went out of this volcano through tubes (or vents) underground. When the lava all flowed away, the lava tube was like a big cave. Now people walk through it every day.

Everywhere in Hawaii you can see different kinds of lava, because every one of the Hawaiian islands blew up from the Pacific Ocean in a volcanic blast. Some were as long as a million years ago. The volcano now sending lava into the sea is slowly creating new land at the edge of the biggest Hawaiian island.

I love the Hawaiian creation story that tells of the goddess Pele who made the land from moulten rock. It's a true creation story -- invented by observation. Different from any other mythology I know of.

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