Lava Patterns In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Loving patterns as I do, it was a feat of Herculean proportions to peel myself away from the lava covering Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii, The Big Island.  I only had part of a day to trounce around the hardened flows with the ample explanations from Warren Costa, owner and operator of Native Guide Hawaii. Warren’s knowledge helped me to understand what the heck I was looking at with all the different types of lava and formations.

I come from the West Coast of the US and half the time I live within 100 miles of Mt. St. Helens, which famously erupted three decades ago. I thought this gave me some volcano street cred but our little lahar creator is a world away from the shield volcanoes and lava that make up the Hawaiian Islands. The lava takes on two main forms in the park: Pahoehoe and ‘A’a.

Pahoehoe is the smooth stuff seen in flowing lines with rope like shapes at times. ‘A’a is the rough stuff that ripped through the shoe of one person on our tour. Within each of those main types there are a myriad of variations and textures.

Below is a gallery taken inside and out of the park. Some are from a helicopter, which was a thrill in this section of the island as it helped us get close to Pu’u ‘O’o cinder cone (that’s the bubbling lava in some of the pictures). The other images were taken in the park, up close and personal. Enjoy!

(Click on images for larger versions)

My thanks go out to Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, Big Island Visitors Bureau, Native Guide Hawaii and Paradise Helicopters for helping me explore Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a true gem in the islands. It’s a dark gem, but sometimes it is a molten gem. A gem nonetheless.

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