Skylights Are Cool – Hawaii Lava Flows 11-22-14


A short post to let everyone know about some new images I’ve added to my website.

They are in the gallery “Bryan’s Favorites”. #506 – #510c.

Some insight on the new images available as prints.

There was a time many years ago at the lava flows with in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park when lava tube skylights were quite common. All you had to do was follow the well established Laeapuki lava tube inland from the coast to find them. Skylight hunting at night was easier but, I very much enjoyed daytime skylight hunting too.

For those of you who don’t really know what a skylight is, it’s a window into an active lava tube allowing one to see the fast flowing lava advancing underground to the lava flow front. The most common way they are formed is when the tube is filled by a sudden surge of magma. The surge causes a weak section of the tubes roof to break away. When the section of roof survives in one piece and remains nearby it’s called a manhole cover. An example of one can be seen here. It’s a very rare sight to see. This one popped out as I was approaching the scene. I could write a book based on my adventures that night/day.

These particular skylights were captured during the Laeapuki eruption. Both were on the flats below the pali. One quite close to the ocean entry. The closer one also had a cloud of toxic gas hovering low to the ground all the way to the ocean entry. They often emanate from active lava tubes when the upper crust is thin. While it won’t kill you on the spot, its atrocious to the lungs. Always best to avoid this blue smoke unless you have a respirator. Even more so due to the thin unstable crust over the lava tube. If you see several tiny glowing holes with a yellow sulfur build up around them, stay away as these are often new skylights in the making. There’s a good chance you will fall through.

This leads me to my usual warning. Stay away from skylights unless you absolutely know what you are doing. I don’t mean you think you know what you are doing. That will lead to something disastrous. Understanding skylights takes years of field work. I’ve hiked to well over 100 of them. 21 in one day back in 2002.

Click on the link above or the photo below to view the new images.

Prints can be ordered directly from my website or if you are on the island, visit Krazy About Kona in the Kona Inn Shopping Village on Ali’i Dr to buy prints.

To see a great video of lava flowing through a lava tube viewed via a large skylight, click here. This video shows something very unique that’s rarely seen. Cooler lava from the upper chamber flowing onto the fast-moving lava of the main tube. My timing couldn’t have been better as once coming back to the skylight several hours later, it was nearly sealed up.

Laeapuki skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii.

Laeapuki skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii.


Aloha, Bryan Lowry All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/ Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.


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