Saturday, April 12, 2008

Add This To Your List Of Things To See Before You Die!

Well, I rolled out of bed this morning, and fired up the desktop to look for something to blog about, and Yahoo had my answer for me right on the front page:

Kilauea Volcano has exploded again. Officials say a small explosion that sent rocks more than 200 feet up onto the rim of the volcano's main Halemaumau crater occurred Wednesday night, hours before the park reopened.
The park was evacuated Tuesday and remained closed Wednesday because of elevated sulfur dioxide emissions.
The U.S. Geological Survey says Wednesday's blast at Halemaumau crater was much smaller than a similar explosion in March, but still enlarged the new vent in the wall of the crater about 15 to 30 feet.
Scientists say they found lava splatters and rocks ejected by the blast, which also contained volcanic glass shards.
They say there is increasing evidence that molten lava is collecting about 300 to 600 feet below the new vent.

Now - this might sound pretty frightening and dangerous (and it is), but that's what makes Volcanoes National Park so fascinating to visit. I've been a lot of interesting places... Luray Caverns... Colonial Williamsburg... even South of the Border! - But none of them can possibly compare to the site of seeing and feeling hot steam venting from the ground or watching fountains of boiling lava explode as it pours into the sea.

Unfortunately, the last time we visited the volcano last summer, it was during a quiet period, and there was no visible lava flowing at the park. But in previous trips, we were able to hike in from the end of the road and watch nature's fireworks. There is no Disney theme park ride (yes, I said it, dammit!) on Earth that can match the thrill of seeing the goddess Pele do her thing!

Now, as I mentioned, we did not see live lava on the last trip, but Mrs. Matthews did manage to find several small pieces of shiny lava rock known as "Pele's tears". These are valued because they are smooth and shiny, as opposed to most lava, which is rough and dull. Mrs. Matthews was tempted to pocket the pebbles, but the boys and I forced her to toss the rocks down a vent shaft instead. It is considered KAPU (forbidden) to take lava away from the volcano. Whether that's merely an old wive's tale or not is unclear... But you remember what happened to Bobby and Cindy Brady when they took that idol from the construction site in Hawaii... Big time KAPU! We weren't taking any chances!

No comments: