Welcome to the second edition of National Parks Tuesday!
This week is brought to you by the sunny shores of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, which established in 1916 (interestingly, before Hawaii actually became a state). It contains two extremely active volcanoes: Kilauea, which is one of the world's most active volcanoes and traditionally thought to be the home of the volcano goddess Pele, and Mauna Loa, the world's largest volcano (13,677 feet).
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is also a World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve, in recognition of its unique insight into vulcanology and how the Hawai'ian Islands were formed. The Hawai'ian Islands are actually quite young, geologically speaking. The youngest is about 1 million years old, while the oldest is only 6 million years old. The park itself is 323,431 acres and includes a wide range of landscapes - from active volcanic eruptions and lava flows to tropical rainforests and even desert.
Kilauea is also home to the Halema'uma'u caldera. A caldera is volcanic feature that is shaped like a cauldron, usually formed when a piece of land collapses after a volcanic eruption. In March back in 2008, almost five years ago, there was an explosion in Halema'uma'u, scattering debris over an area of 74 acres. It did not, however, release any lava, which suggests that it was caused by a hydrothermal reaction or built-up gases.