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Photographer's Note

The viscous pahoehoe lava, typical for Hawaiian volcanoes, flows slowly towards the ocean and cools down. The heat is exchanged at the surface, which is covered quickly by a folded, shiny black crust of solidified rock. This crust, looking like twisted ropes or overlapping folds and bulbs as seen in the workshop, is the trademark of pahoehoe lava. The solid crust becomes thicker and thicker with time and insulates the lava flowing beneath, preventing the heat transfer to the surface. In this way, the slow flowing lava can cover long distances underground and finally flow into the ocean. When the eruption ends, the fluid lava underneath the crust drains out, leaving behind a "lava tube". This phenomenon is extremely prevalent and numerous lava tubes are found beneath the surface of the lava fields. Long and wide tunnels like this one found in the proximity of the Kilauea Caldera are less common. The one depicted here is a few meters wide and a few hundred meters long, and part of its length is arranged for visitors. The last 300 meters can be easily visited as well but require a flashlight.

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Additional Photos by Roland Roesler (Roly) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 546 W: 9 N: 436] (2024)
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