There are many wondrous, enigmatic and fascinating attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, some better known than others, many out of the way and generally off the beaten track. Tour Guide Hawaii has produced an encyclopedic collection of the most up-to-date information, presented as short GPS-cued videos, in an app downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch that covers the entire Big Island, highlighting the popular and the uncrowded, the famous and the secluded, the adventurous and the relaxing.
From the Holei Pali Turnout look back up the escarpment at the cascading braids of lava that festoon the pali face. When lava first pours over a steep cliff like this, the increase in speed of flow concomitant with increased flow turbulence, causes the lava to cool rapidly and degas. Thus, the initial flows down the pali are a’a flows. As the lava feeder tube system builds toward and over the cliff, fresher lava insulated in the tube longer, partially buries these initial a’a flows in less viscous pahoehoe. This process is seen clearly on the face of Holei Pali, where lavas that erupted from Mauna Ulu between 1969 and 1974 poured over the cliff.
Look at the emerald patches of forest within the intertwined flows above Alanui Kahiko. These kipukas are all that is left of the original, dense Naulu tropical forest.
Imagine what it must have been like to stand here and see the lava cascading over these cliffs, the fire fountains of Mauna Ulu in the background. This is exactly analogous to what is happening at the Kupaianaha Vent and the pali down at Waikupanaha, by Kalapana in Puna, today.
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