Talks, Guided Tours Slated for VNP in January

December 11, 2019, 8:21 AM HST
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Left: This wide angle view from the helicopter overflight shows the deepest part of the Kīlauea caldera with the lower flanks of Mauna Loa visible in the background. The water pond is visible at the bottom of the crater (center of image). USGS photo by C. Parcheta, 08-22-2019. Right: A closer aerial view of the water pond in Halema‘uma‘u. USGS photo by C. Parcheta, 08-22-2019.

After Dark in the Park talks and guided tours will be hosted at Volcanoes National Park in January in honor of Volcano Awareness Month.

Events include guided hikes of Kīlauea Iki Crater on Jan. 6, 13, 20 & 27 at 10 a.m. To attend, meet Ranger Michael at the Kīlauea Iki Overlook parking lot.

Hikes that month are:

A walk through Kīlauea Volcano’s summit history with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist emeritus Don Swanson. Swanson will take guests on a two-hour walk, where they learn about the past 500 years of Kīlauea Volcano’s history as revealed by rocks, craters, and cracks. Walks take place on Jan. 9, 17, 22 and 25. Public is advised to arrive early as the walk starts promptly at 8 a.m. Meet Don at the Devastation Trail parking lot on Crater Rim Drive.

A guided hike along the path of Mauna Loa’s 1868 lava flow. RCUH-Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) geologists Katie Mulliken and Lil DeSmither lead this guided hike along the Pu‘u o Lokuana trail in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Hike will take place on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit.


Hike back in time to the 1969-74 Mauna Ulu eruption. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Dr. Carolyn Parcheta leads this two-hour guided walk along the fissure that started the Mauna Ulu eruption on May 24, 1969. Hike will take place on Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. Participants are to meet at Mauna Ulu parking lot before 10 a.m.


There will also be talks on the status of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Both 2018 and 2019 were years of profound change at Kīlauea Volcano and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Devastation caused by the largest lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse in at least 200 years resulted in many transitions for island residents, including HVO. In a discussion with Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the HVO, she will describe the current status of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa and what might be coming next. That will take place on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

Other talks include:

What’s happening at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit? Kīlauea Volcano’s summit has been in an eruptive pause since the 2018 events ended over a year ago. Nevertheless, it remains a dynamic place. Ongoing inflation and seismicity indicate that the summit magma chamber is gradually recharging. A water lake, unprecedented in the written historical record, appeared at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u in late July 2019 and has steadily risen. The discussion will take place on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium.


Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone 2019: quiet but insightful. In the year since Kīlauea Volcano’s notable 2018 eruption ended, the lower East Rift Zone has been relatively quiet. But USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists continue to gain insight into the eruption through ongoing research and monitoring. Talk will take place on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

Seismicity of the 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption. The 2018 Kīlauea eruption produced unprecedented levels of seismicity in the volcano’s instrumented history. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) documented about 80,000 earthquakes during the three-month eruption, starting with the dramatic collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone on April 30 and ending with the final Kīlauea summit caldera collapse event on August 5. HVO seismologist Brian Shiro will recount the 2018 earthquake story, including how HVO adapted its techniques to monitor the events, and describes current levels of seismicity and HVO’s ongoing efforts to improve seismic monitoring. The talk will take place Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

A Walk into the Past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar. Walk back to 1912, and meet the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea Volcano. Dressed in period costume, Ka‘ū actor-director Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. Space is limited; pick up a free ticket at the Kīlauea Visitor Center’s front desk the day of the program. The talk runs Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Each performance is about an hour. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center.

Also in January, the park staff will continue its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture, stewardship programs and opportunities to explore the Kahuku Unit.

Hawaiian culture programs include:

‘Ai Pono – Healthy Hawaiian foods. ‘Anakē (Aunty) Edna Baldado will discuss eating and living healthier with native Hawaiian foods like kalo (the staple food of Hawaiians), ‘uala (sweet potato) and ‘ulu (breadfruit). Disussion will take place on Jan. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon on the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai.

Ku‘i kalo – Pound poi. Make poi, the staple food of the Hawaiian diet. The root of the kalo plant is cooked and ku‘i (pounded) to create this classic Hawaiian dish. Ranger Keoni Kaholo‘a‘ā will share his knowledge of kalo on Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon on the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai.

Participate in being a steward over the park.

Help remove troublesome plants at Kīpukapuaulu, home to diverse native forest and understory plants. Bring clippers or pruners, sturdy gloves, a hat, and water. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting permanently stained from morning glory sap. Contact Marilyn Nicholson for more info: [email protected] Work takes place on Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 9:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Kīpukapuaulu parking lot, Mauna Loa Road, off Highway 11 in the park.

Volunteers are also invited to clear out invasive, non-native plant species at the summit. People are advised to wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Under 18? Parental or guardian accompaniment or written consent is required. Visit the park website for additional planning details:
Work days take place on Jan. 3, 11, 17 and 25. Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center on any of the above dates at 8:45 a.m.

And don’t forget to explore the Kahuku Unit. The Kahuku Unit is free, and is open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Take a self-guided hike, or join rangers on weekends for a two-hour guided trek at 9:30 a.m. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Kahuku is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance.

There will be a fee-free day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 20. All fee-charging national parks will be free that day. Those parks also include Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park and Haleakalā National Park. For a complete list of fee-free dates in 2020, go to

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