Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
P?hoehoe and Aa flows at Hawaii.jpg
P?hoehoe and ʻaʻ? lava flows
Map showing the location of Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park
Map showing the location of Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park
Location in the Hawaiian Islands
LocationHawaii County, Hawaii, United States
Nearest cityHilo
Coordinates19°23?N 155°12?W / 19.383°N 155.200°W / 19.383; -155.200Coordinates: 19°23?N 155°12?W / 19.383°N 155.200°W / 19.383; -155.200
Area323,431 acres (1,308.88 km2)[1]
EstablishedAugust 1, 1916
Visitors1,116,891 (in 2018)[2]
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
CriteriaNatural: viii
Inscription1987 (11th session)

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established on August 1, 1916, is an American national park located in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. The park encompasses two active volcanoes: K?lauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the birth and development of the Hawaiian Islands, and ongoing studies into the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.

In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987.[3] In 2012, the park was depicted on the 14th quarter of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.

On May 11, 2018, the park was closed to the public in the K?lauea volcano summit area, including the visitor center and park headquarters, due to explosions and toxic ash clouds from Halema?uma?u, as well as earthquakes and road damage.[4][5] Portions of the park, including the visitor center, reopened to the public on September 22, 2018.[6][7] As of 2020, most of the park is open; however, some road segments and trails as well as the Jaggar Museum of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory remain closed to visitors.[4]

Eruptive activity, ground collapses and explosions in the park ceased in early August of 2018, and the lull in eruptive activity at K?lauea continues.[8]


Lava erupting from the Puʻu ʻ?ʻ? vent in June 1983

The park includes 323,431 acres (505.36 sq mi; 1,308.88 km2) of land.[9] Over half of the park (130,790 acres (529 km2)) was designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area in 1978, providing solitude for hiking and camping.[10] Wilderness designation covers the northwestern extension of the National Park, including Mokuaweoweo, the summit of the volcano Mauna Loa. In the southwestern portion of the park, a large chunk of wilderness includes several miles of coastline and a small portion southeast of the visitors center. The park encompasses diverse environments from sea level to the summit of the Earth's most massive active volcano, Mauna Loa, at 13,679 feet (4,169 m). Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻ? Desert.

Recently eruptive sites include the main caldera of K?lauea and a more active but remote vent called Puʻu ʻ?ʻ?.[11]

The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The Chain of Craters Road leads to the coast, passing several craters from historic eruptions. The road had continued to another park entrance near the town of Kalapana, but that portion is covered by a lava flow. The park's Kahuku District is accessible via Kahuku Road off Highway 11 near mile marker 70.


Aerial view of Halema?uma?u, September 2009

K?lauea and its Halema?uma?u caldera were traditionally considered the sacred home of the volcano goddess Pele, and Hawaiians visited the crater to offer gifts to the goddess.

In 1790, a party of warriors, along with women and children who were in the area, were caught in an unusually violent eruption. Many were killed and others left footprints in the lava that are still visible.[12]

The first western visitors to the site, English missionary William Ellis and American Asa Thurston, went to K?lauea in 1823. Ellis wrote of his reaction to the first sight of the erupting volcano:

A spectacle, sublime and even appalling, presented itself before us. 'We stopped and trembled.' Astonishment and awe for some moments rendered us mute, and, like statues, we stood fixed to the spot, with our eyes riveted on the abyss below.[13]

The Volcano Art Center was the Volcano House Hotel from 1877 to 1921.

The volcano became a tourist attraction in the 1840s, and local businessmen such as Benjamin Pitman and George Lycurgus ran a series of hotels at the rim.[14]Volcano House is the only hotel or restaurant located within the borders of the national park.

Lorrin A. Thurston, grandson of the American missionary Asa Thurston, was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the park after investing in the hotel from 1891 to 1904. William R. Castle first proposed the idea in 1903. Thurston, who then owned The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, printed editorials in favor of the park idea. In 1907, the territory of Hawaii paid for fifty members of Congress and their wives to visit Haleakal? and K?lauea, including a dinner cooked over lava steam vents. In 1908, Thurston entertained Secretary of the Interior James Rudolph Garfield, and another congressional delegation the following year. Governor Walter F. Frear proposed a draft bill in 1911 to create Kilauea National Park for $50,000. Thurston and local landowner William Herbert Shipman proposed boundaries, but ran into some opposition from ranchers. Thurston printed endorsements from John Muir, Henry Cabot Lodge, and former President Theodore Roosevelt.[15] After several attempts, the legislation introduced by delegate Jonah K?hi? Kalanianaʻole finally passed to create the park. House Resolution 9525 was signed by Woodrow Wilson on August 1, 1916. Hawaii National Park became the eleventh national park in the United States, and the first in a territory.[16]

Within a few weeks, the National Park Service Organic Act created the National Park Service to run the system.[17] The park was officially renamed Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park after being split from Haleakal? National Park on September 22, 1961.

An easily accessible lava tube was named for the Thurston family. An undeveloped stretch of the Thurston Lava Tube extends an additional 1,100 ft (340 m) beyond the developed area and dead-ends into the hillside, but it is closed to the general public.

Park map including the Kahuku District on left (click to enlarge)

In 2004, an additional 115,788 acres (468.58 km2) of the Kahuku Ranch were added to the park, the largest land acquisition in Hawaii's history. Now named the Kahuku District, the park was enlarged by 56% with the newly acquired land, which is west of the town of Waiʻ?hinu and east of Ocean View. The land was purchased for $21.9 million from the estate of Samuel Mills Damon, with financing from The Nature Conservancy.[9]


National park superintendents:[18][19]

Historic places

Wilkes Campsite on Mauna Loa

Several of the National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawaii are located within the park:

Visitor center and museums

Night view of Halema?uma?u from Jaggar Museum in 2015

The main visitor center, located just within the park entrance at 19°25?46?N 155°15?25.5?W / 19.42944°N 155.257083°W / 19.42944; -155.257083, includes displays and information about the features of the park. The nearby Volcano Art Center, located in the original 1877 Volcano House hotel, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses historical displays and an art gallery.

The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, now closed due to damage from the 2018 eruptive events, is located a few miles west on Crater Rim Drive. The museum featured more exhibits and a close view of K?lauea's active vent Halema?uma?u. The museum is named after scientist Thomas Jaggar, the first director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which adjoins the museum. The observatory itself is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and is not open to the public.

The Kilauea Military Camp provides accommodations for U.S. military personnel.[20] Volunteer groups also sponsor events in the park.[21]

Painting of Pele

About 1929, D. Howard Hitchcock made an oil painting of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. In 1966, the artist's son, Harvey, donated the painting to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, where it was displayed in the visitor center from 1966 to 2005.[22] The painting was criticized for portraying the Hawaiian goddess as a Caucasian.[22]

In 2003, the Volcano Art Center announced a competition for a "more modern and culturally authentic rendering" of the goddess.[23] An anonymous judging panel of Native Hawaiian elders selected a painting by Arthur Johnsen of Puna, Hawaii from 140 entries.[24] In Johnsen's painting, the goddess has distinctly Polynesian features. She is holding a digging stick (ʻ?ʻ?) in her left hand and the egg that gave birth to her younger sister Hiʻiaka in her right hand.[23] In 2005, the Hitchcock was replaced with Johnsen's painting.

Recent events

On March 19, 2008, there was a small explosion in Halema?uma?u, the first explosive event since 1924 and the first eruption in the K?lauea caldera since September 1982. Debris from the explosion was scattered over an area of 74 acres (300,000 m2). A small amount of ash was also reported at a nearby community. The explosion covered part of Crater Rim Drive and damaged Halema?uma?u Overlook. The explosion did not release any lava, which suggests to scientists that it was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.[25]

Sulfur dioxide emissions from the Halema?uma?u vent, April 2008

This explosion event followed the opening of a major sulfur dioxide gas vent, greatly increasing levels emitted from Halema?uma?u. The dangerous increase of sulfur dioxide gas prompted closures of Crater Rim Drive between the Jaggar Museum south/southeast to Chain of Craters Road, Crater Rim Trail from K?lauea Military Camp south/southeast to Chain of Craters Road, and all trails leading to Halema?uma?u, including those from Byron Ledge, ʻIliahi (Sandalwood) Trail, and Kaʻ? Desert Trail.[26]

In mid-May 2018, the K?lauea District of the park was closed due to explosive eruptions at Halema?uma?u, though the Kahuku District remained open. The K?lauea District, including the visitor center, reopened to the public on September 22, 2018.[6][7] Eruptive activity, ground collapses and explosions in the park had ceased in early August. At the summit, seismicity and deformation are negligible. Sulfur dioxide emission rates at both the summit and the Lower East Rift Zone are drastically reduced; the combined rate is lower than at any time since late 2007. Earthquake and deformation data show no net accumulation, withdrawal, or significant movement of subsurface magma or pressurization as would be expected if the system was building toward a resumption of activity.[8]

As of 2020, the lull in eruptive activity at K?lauea continues and most of the park is open; however, some road segments and trails remain closed to visitors, while the Jaggar Museum of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is closed indefinitely.[4] The Thurston Lava Tube (N?huku) was reopened to the public on February 21, 2020. Several large rockfalls were cleared and sensors were installed to monitor new cracks, along with improvements to water drainage and parking. The rockfalls and cracks had been caused by some of the 60,000 earthquakes recorded during the K?lauea eruption.[27]

Panorama of lava and ocean
Panoramic view of the lava at the end of the Chain of Craters Road

See also

Media related to Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park at Wikimedia Commons (image gallery)


  1. ^ "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Hawai'i's Only World Heritage Site". Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park web site. National Park Service. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b c "Area Closures, Advisories, Drones/Unmanned Aircraft & Other Policies". nps.gov. National Park Service. March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "Volcano park closed for record stretch due to Kilauea eruption". 2018-05-28.
  6. ^ a b "Volcanoes park reopening good news for Big Island". 2018-08-23.
  7. ^ a b "Visitors flock to reopened Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park". 2018-09-23.
  8. ^ a b "Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Weekly Update". volcanoes.usgs.gov. U.S. Geological Survey. March 5, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "2008 Business Plan" (PDF). Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Wilderness Connect". wilderness.net. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Kilauea Status Page". HVO. USGS.
  12. ^ Nakamura, Jadelyn (2003). "Keonehelelei – the falling sands" (PDF). Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Archaeological Inventory of the Footprints Area.
  13. ^ "Early Kilauea Explorations". Hawaii Nature Notes number 2. National Park Service. November 1953. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23.
  14. ^ "The Volcano House". Hawaii Nature Notes number 2. National Park Service. November 1953. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23.
  15. ^ "The Park Idea". Hawaii Nature Notes number 2. National Park Service. November 1953. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23.
  16. ^ "The Final Thrust". Hawaii Nature Notes number 2. National Park Service. November 1953.
  17. ^ "The National Park Service Organic Act". statutes of the 64th United States Congress. National Park Service. August 25, 1916.
  18. ^ Historic Listing of National Park Service Officials: Superintendents of National Park System Areas, Hawaii. Last Modified: 2000.
  19. ^ New Superintendent Named For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. National Park Service Press Release: Jan. 5, 2004.
  20. ^ "Kilauea Military Camp at Kilauea Volcano, a Joint Services Recreation Center". official web site. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park". official web site. Retrieved .
  22. ^ a b Rod Thompson (July 13, 2003). "Rendering Pele: Artists gather paints and canvas in effort to be chosen as Pele's portrait maker". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved .
  23. ^ a b Thompson, Rod (August 15, 2003). "Winning Vision of Pele, an Unusual Take". Honolulu Star Bulletin. p. A3.
  24. ^ "Fresh face put on volcano park | the Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii's Newspaper".
  25. ^ "Explosive eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, Kilauea Volcano". HVO. USGS. Archived from the original on 2008-03-23.
  26. ^ "Closed Areas". Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park web site. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Popular lava tube is open". nps.gov. National Park Service. 2020-02-21. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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