How to Explore the Big Island's Volcanoes
A big draw for travelers to the Big Island of Hawaii is exploring the volcanoes: A trip to Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea’s crater is unforgettable. The Big Island is the most recent expression of a volcanic hot spot under the earth's crust. Hiking up Mauna Loa and stargazing from Mauna Kea are also memorable experiences for the intrepid who are interested in exploring the less active volcanoes.

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The Resilience of Life

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The Hawaiian Islands are relatively new pieces of land on the globe, and nothing reminds people of this more than a visit to Volcanoes National Park, where new land is being formed every day by the very active Kilauea Volcano.

Even in lava flows formed in the last 20 years, plants begin to take root wherever they can find proper nutrients and a little bit of water. This is how the islands were populated with life from their beginning—seeds were brought by the waves or by birds flying from far-off lands and some found places to be nurtured and grow.

If you get a chance, drive down Chain of Craters Road and note the changing landscapes of different lava flows and how much vegetation has been able to thrive over the years on different flows.

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by Andrea Rip
AFAR Local Expert
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