Hawaiian islands are perfect examples of how the volcanic activity shapes the Earth over the time. All of them were created by volcanic eruptions that have built them from the bottom of the ocean floor when multiple layers of lava deposits slowly rose to a height of nearly 5 km (16,400 ft) to reach the sea surface and continued rising above the sea level adding another 4 km (13,100 ft). This fascinating process continues to this day, with Kilauea being one of the most active volcanoes on the surface of the Earth and a brand new island currently being created.
Hawaiian islands are a true paradise for tourists, including the more adventurous ones and the ones seeking more 'comfortable' but still thrilling vacations.
Officials as well as businesses have taken great care of making Hawaiian volcanoes accessible and enjoyable, to the extend that some may even put a label 'touristy' on them. Despite that who wouldn't be excited with breathtaking views of fire fountains and glowing lava flows delivered by continuously active Kilauea, particularly considering how easy the access is and how safe it is? The ones who don't mind some more strenuous mountain hiking can find here a challenging task of climbing to the spectacular summit of the highest mountain on Earth (measured from the sea floor, Mauna Loa is over 9 km / 30,000 ft high, more that Mt. Everest).
Hawaiian volcano tours are among the safest in the world, thanks to the volcanoes themselves that tend to erupt in the less violent way, and also to the availability of the emergency services that are one of the best in the world. Thanks to the accessibility and safety, Hawaiian volcanoes, Kilauea in particular, are also the most photographed and filmed volcanoes in the world. Haleakala Volcano is probably the most photogenic dormant volcano in the world.
The three most spectacular Hawaiian volcanoes are intoduced in more details on next pages:
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - a website by US National Park Service devoted to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Includes current volcano status, information about the Park, fees, Park maps etc.
- Recent Kilauea Status Reports - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Daily Update on Kilauea Volcano activity.
- Recent Mauna Loa Status Reports - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Monthly Update on Mauna Loa Volcano activity. Also includes reports on Haleakala, Hulalai, Lo'ihi and Mauna Kea Volcanoes.
- Mauna Loa Trail Guide - an excellent online guide for Mauna Loa hikers. Includes detailed descriptions of trails.
- Haleakala National Park - official site of the Haleakala National Park. Includes maps, hours, driving directions, fees, information on camping and cabins in the park.