Michael Stewart - Travel - Photojournalism - Fine Art Photography

Lava, Vent, and the Kalapana Coast

Lava, Vent, and the Kalapana Coast

The Hawaiians have some twenty-two names for different types of lava, but after awhile they all start to look alike. Well, that’s not quite correct. For the trekker there are two clear-cut categories, good and evil. The good stuff is the flowing, rope-like pahoehoe, which is relatively easy to walk on. The truly nasty stuff is the a’a, (“torn up by roots”). It clumps into broken chunks called clinkers creating an exceedingly spiny surface. Negotiating a patch of a’a is like climbing over a giant’s set of children’s jacks made out of razor wire. Route selection is not a trivial matter. The idea is that you want to find a river of good ropey pahoehoe and follow it between the fields of a’a. You might as well wear cheap boots because by the time you're done the soles will be shredded.

Photo circa 2005.

©2006 Michael Stewart. For commercial use please contact the email address in the watermark on the image.

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