|The summit of Mauna Kea in the distance, and the forested lower slopes of Mauna Loa in the foreground|
My last entry on the geological drama of Hawai'i concerned the stubbornness of life in a harsh volcanic environment, such as that which is found on the highest slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai'i. I was echoing of course one of the memorable lines from the movie "Jurassic Park". As I started to review my next set of pictures from my recent trip, I realized the opposite supposition also holds true: rock finds a way (to kill life).
|Lua Manu Crater on Chain of Craters Road. It formed by collapsing several hundred years ago, and was later filled with lava flows in 1974.|
previous post. In 1974, the Keanakāko‘i flow overwhelmed an Ohi'a forest near Chain of Craters Road in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The lava froze around the trunks as the trees themselves caught fire and burned away.
The lava forests can be seen in several places. By far the easiest is at Lava Tree State Monument in the Pahoa area. It resulted from a flow in 1790, and the park offers paved accessible trails and interpretive signs. If you want to see the Keanakāko‘i ghost forest, you'll find it in the vicinity of Lua Manu Crater on Chain of Craters Road in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. There are no signs and no trails, so you are in for a bit more of a rugged adventure. Be prepared with water, sturdy shoes, and the other usual things you need for a wilderness outing. And...be careful while studying the ghost trees. Many are unstable and fragile and could be destroyed by a thoughtless climb or push. And having one fall on you can't possibly end well.