Gumbo's Pic of the Day, January 29, 2015: The art of lava

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

I'm often amazed at how beautiful the small things in nature can be.  Whether a bee pollinating a flower, a wild animal stopping to look at you, a blade of grass struggling to grow in a desert, or how sculpted lava can seem.

 

These photos were taken during a recent visit to Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii's Big Island.  All of the Hawaiian islands were created by volcanic activity, starting first with Kauai in the northwest, then Oahu, then Maui, and most recently to the southeast, the Big Island (there's another Hawaiian island currently forming under the ocean south of the Big Island, but none of us will live to see that one emerge from the sea).

 

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

Hardened lava flows can generally be described as one of two types: 1) very rough lava, so rough it will tear up even sturdy hiking boots, and 2) smooth lava that looks much like pancake batter being poured and hardening while flowing.  In the Hawaiian language the rough lava is known as 'A'a.  The smooth ropy lava is known as Pahoehoe

These photos show the earliest vegetation -- mostly small ferns and grass -- taking root in hardened Pahoehoe lava.

 

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

 

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

 

Volcanoes National Park,Hawaii. Chain of Craters Road

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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amazing pictures, Dr F...yes, the small things can be interesting too...these are works of art by mother nature and you've captured them well

The journey starts with you. Just open that door and start walking!

 

Originally Posted by GarryRF:

Between the lava flow and live foliage returning  - how long will have passed ?

 

Hard to be sure as there are repeated flows of lava over the area I took pictures in, but at least 25 years and probably more like 50-75 years for those with better developed grasses and ferns.  Lava flows are often quite narrow, maybe only a few hundred meters wide, and overlap often.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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