The national park is located in a magnificent volcanic landscape with the extremely active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea as well as the extinct Mauna Kea. Much of the reserve is built up from a desert-like lava landscape. It is a complex ecosystem that provides a habitat for numerous animals and plants.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Facts
|Official title:||Hawaii Volcanoes National Park|
|Natural monument:||Volcanic landscape with the 4170 m high Mauna Loa and Kilauea in the Hawaii National Park, founded in 1916, which consists of Maui Island and part of Hawaii Island, divided into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park in 1961, biosphere reserve since 1980 with an area of 1309 km²|
|Continent:||North America; See medicinelearners|
|Location:||south of Hilo, southeast coast of the island of Hawaii, easternmost island in the US state of Hawaii|
|Meaning:||as the result of 70 million years of volcanism, two of the world’s most active volcanoes with a lava-dominated landscape with giant ferns|
|Flora and fauna:||23 types of vegetation in 5 ecological zones, from rainforest to beach vegetation, 90% of all occurring plants can only be found in Hawaii, 19 of the nationally threatened and endangered plants make up 10% of the vascular plants of the park; only one mammal species, the bat species Lasiurus cinereus semotus, available; Hawaiian gans, Akepa and Akialoa, and the great Hawaiian thrush, are among the bird species that occur|
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: History
|1778||Captain James Cook discovers the archipelago of today’s Hawaii and gives it the name “Sandwich Islands”|
|1794||First ascent of Mauna Loa|
|1840/41||US research expedition advances to Kilauea, which subsequently becomes a tourist attraction|
|1912||Foundation of an observatory on Kilauea by geology professor Thomas Augustus Jaggar|
|1916||Hawaii National Park founded|
|1959||Ash rain burns up wooded area on the Devastation Trail|
|1980||Recognition of the national park as a UNESCO biosphere reserve|
|1983||Eruption of Kilauea with subsequent constant to sporadic lava flow|
|1987||Designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|2004||Enlargement of the national park to 1309 km 2|
|2018||Evacuations after another violent eruption of Kilauea|
At the seat of the fire goddess Pele
For the locals, the volcanoes of Hawaii are the seat of the fire goddess Pele, who is subject to strong fluctuations in her mood. If the extremely temperamental lady has one of her tantrums, she spits fire and then falls back into a peaceful nap, of which no one knows how long it will take. So the legend has to do with Pele, who is supposed to be made gracious through offerings. Sacrifices wrapped in Ti leaves are placed on the mighty mouth of the goddess, on Halemaumau, a glowing lava lake. Legend has it that gin is also said to soothe Ka Wahine O Laua, the »woman of hell«. Smelly gas emissions, so-called fumaroles, and clouds of smoke point the way to crystalline sinter made from the purest sulfur, the “Sulfur Banks”.
The monsters, which only externally – and only temporarily – consist of cooled lava are among the most active volcanoes on this globe, five of which have been located on the Big Island, such as the island with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, over the course of hundreds of thousands of years called, have piled up: starting from Mount Kohala in the north-west of the island, which has meanwhile again fallen victim to powerful erosion, via Mount Hualalai and Mauna Kea. After all, Kilauea sprouts from the southeast flank of Mauna Loa, the “long mountain”. With an elevation of 4170 m above sea level and another 5400 m to the sea floor, Mauna Loa even towers above Mount Everest, the highest “overseas” mountain on earth at 8850 m.
Above all, Mauna Loa and its offshoot Kilauea have ensured steady growth of the island in recent years. Since 1983, almost 200 hectares of new land have pushed out into the sea on the east coast. Kilauea gushes continuously, pours glowing, boiling and steaming lava into the sea and thus lives up to its name: In the language of the native Hawaiians it means “spread out, spewing a lot”. But despite “hot earth” there is often snow on the roof of the volcanoes. Lush fauna has long since taken possession of its slopes. Tender lichens and green ferns thrive on freshly solidified black lava. At older eruption sites, dense forest of tree ferns has recaptured its tropical vegetation zones.
On the hot and rain-poor southwest flank, you seem to step into a barren Martian landscape in black: the Kau desert. Sharp and angular cliffs adorn the coast, on which red-hot, boiling hot lava flows, with a fiery red jet and enveloped by a powerful cloud of water vapor, sink into the Pacific when new eruptions occur. Foam-crowned waves as high as a house crash against the black lava coast in a steady rhythm. Originally thinly flowing lava, called »pa-hoy-hoy«, has left smooth hills with eddies and strands that are reminiscent of strong muscles. The viscous, viscous lava mass, dubbed “ah-ah” by the locals, caused coarse lumps and angular blocks to solidify in an apparent chaos. Bluish gray shimmering basalt columns can be found next to honeycomb-shaped weathering, Lava with rust-red oxidation discoloration next to orange-yellow colored spherical weathering. The power of lava, ash and rock rain is enormous and can trigger a catastrophic tidal wave, a tsunami. Hawaii has not been hit by a giant wave of this kind, but the island of Lanai, where loose coral rock has been discovered on its 365 m high mountains.
The eight large and 124 smaller islands of the archipelago form the tip of a huge volcanic mountain range that stretches from the Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka to Hawaii and originated 70 million years ago. Since then, the “Pacific Plate” has been drifting ten centimeters to the northwest every year. The home of Pele is currently located above the “hot spot”, from which hot lava from the earth’s interior penetrates the daylight. The fire goddess will continue to finish her red-hot work boiling, hissing and boiling hot. And in a few thousand years, the underwater volcano Loihi, which towers 4,000 m above the seabed and which will roar and boil through unbridled tremors, will pierce the surface of the water and become a new tourist attraction in front of today’s Hawaiian coast.