...within sniffing distance of a volcano...

Caption:  Happy Face In The Pacific Ocean.

—photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton, Hawaii 1998.

 

The photographs tell one story of my exploration of Hawaiian volcanoes, the other story is that as long as I was within sulfur sniffing distance of a volcano it evoked primal terror in me.  I persevered with my usual strategy:  weigh the odds, if they are favorable and if I really value the experience, do it once quickly and savor the moment forever.

 

I checked into a brimstone-and-rotten-eggs room at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Lodge, 1 Crater Rim Dr, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718 · (808) 985-6000.  The lodge was perched above the rim of Kīlauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and I was booked for two nights.  Having literally been on the edge of a volcano, I can understand why people invoke the gods when they see, feel, smell, and hear a volcano. The sight of it is appalling, it is an open wound in the good Earth. The relentless vibrations are horrifying because obviously something huge and awful is happening. The stench is otherworldly, in a very bad way. The grinding, grating, puffing sounds of the volcano are horrifying, indescribable, beyond puny human comprehension.  4:00 AM the next morning (I waited as long as I could so that I would not seem panicked) I was at the front desk checking out, “You don’t mind do you?  I just don’t think I can stay the second night.”  I did not want to give offense to people who worked on and possibly worshiped a volcano.  The desk clerk laughed kindly, and said that a lot of people left early.  Before I continued on my merry way I hiked around the rim of Kīlauea a bit, but my fear never lessened.  Other travelers advised me that “Yes, each year several tourists, sometimes even locals, break through the lava crust and burn up.”  Yikes!  I decided to view it from a helicopter.

 

Then, I drove up Mauna Loa, the most massive shield volcano in the world, also on the main island of Hawaii, until I realized that there were going to be no signs posted to advise me of the safety limits, just lava flows across the road.  Scientists going to work monitoring CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory bump on up over the lava, but not me. I turned around fairly soon and drove back down to a Walmart at the base of the volcano, where I bought some nice souvenirs.  The little animal that escapes is happiest.

 

Note:  Researchers at the Mauna Loa Observatory report on our global atmosphere.  If greenhouse gases (such as CO2) are causing global warming, they would be the ones saying so.  MLO claims to filter out the volcano’s natural CO2 emissions from their CO2 collection test results.  Have their finds undergone independent review by other qualified scientific experts?  Really, they filter out the gas that they are measuring?  It boggles common sense.

Caption:  My Runabout Under Azalea And Hibiscus Shrubs.

—photographs by Annmarie Throckmorton, Hawaii 1998.

 Caption:  Photograph Of Kilauea Caldera, Island of Hawaii.

Does Not Capture Size, Fumes, Noise, And Tremors.

—photographs by Annmarie Throckmorton, Hawaii 1998.

Caption:  Annmarie Throckmorton Climbing Hawaiian Volcano.

—note helicopter in far distance over volcano 1998.

Caption:  Does Mauna Loa Safety Railing Help During A Volcanic Eruption?

—photographs by Annmarie Throckmorton, Hawaii 1998.

 Caption:  Lava Bombs Old And Cold Enough To Manage.

—photographs by Annmarie Throckmorton 1998.

Caption:  map of the Island of Hawaii,

with Mauna Loa volcano and Kilauea volcano-public domain 2017.

 

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