It’s been exactly three decades since Kilauea Volcano first erupted on the Big Island, making it the longest-lasting Hawaiian eruption in recorded history. The first three years of this eruption were especially memorable, as they consisted of spectacular lava fountains spewing episodically from the Puu Ōo vent. I would have loved to been around for that!

Since then, a vast plain of pahoehoe lava from the volcano to the Big Island shoreline has slowly made its way across the island – thanks to a nearly continuous lava flow. Just a couple of months ago, lava poured into the ocean and created a dramatic scene along the remote stretch of the Big Island.

To celebrate the 30 years of volcanic eruption, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be hosting an “After Dark in the Park” event tomorrow at the Visitor Center Auditorium. Geologist Tim Orr will share highlights from the past three decades. Orr works at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

There will be additional talks throughout the month of January, dubbed Volcano Awareness month: “What’s Happening in Halemaumau Crater?,” “A Below-the Scenes Look at Kilauea Volcano’s ‘Plumbing’ System,” and “The Story Behind Monitoring Hawaiian Volcanoes: How HVO Gets the Data It Needs to Track Eruptions and Earthquakes.”

I’ll never forget when I went to view lava on the Big Island at night. Growing up, our family took sporadic trips to the Big Island, where we mostly saw the lava during the day. But I got the chance to see it at night a few years back, and wow! What a sight! If you ever get the opportunity to see lava on the Big Island, I’d suggest going at night when you can really experience just how wonderful a phenomenon it is. It’s almost as if the glowing lava competes with the stars; its orange-red hues light up the dark night skies and leave a lasting impression of the islands with you to take home.

“ AFTER DARK IN THE PARK” • January 2013 • For more info on events, http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/archive/2013_VAM%20Talks_ADIP.pdf

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