It's THE highlight for full-fledged geologists and "normal" Hawai'i travelers alike: to see glowing, heat-radiating Hawaiian lava flows in real life.
That's why they book themselves into Hawai'i volcanoes tours.
Thankfully, experienced and knowledgeable geologists offer geologic tours where tourists can get a taste of what fascinates geoscientists to their core: the birth of new land, liquid rock emerging from the deep Earth, volcanoes.__________________________________________________________________________________________________
In this article (reading time: 2 minutes)
- How "normal" people perceive lava flows vs. how geologists do
- Why witnessing lava flows, glows and volcanoes with a geologist is the best decision you can make
- Free access to the Virtual Hawai'i Geology + Volcano experience
How "normal" people perceive lava flows vs. how geologists do
Tourists are fascinated by the heat, the power, the red-orange glow, the mere sight.
But a geologist's perception goes beyond that. We see the interaction of tiny components as part of a vast dynamic system.
We see elements: magnesium, iron, silicon, aluminum, oxygen. We see minerals. We see mantle material. We see history being made. We see future land being created. We see ourselves in the middle of a dynamic system. We see the full picture.
While "normal" people speak about “earth“ being born during a volcanic eruption, geologist visualize a different story.
We don't see the beginning of something new. We grasp that what we observe is nothing less but a specific point of time in the life of a rock.
We see (molten) rock that has been around for ages, eventually reaching the surface. The rock isn't new at all. Rather, the rock is being transformed into a new shape, after a long, very long, stay in the Earth's mantle in solid and later molten form. We see rock that first was ductile, then liquified and that is now going to crystallize as it solidifies, forming minerals that make up the rock.
We contemplate the rock's destiny. We see the rock being eroded in the future, by water, by wind, by waves. It'll break apart, weather and become a sediment at a beach, in a coastal lake, river or the ocean. Perhaps it will stay there for millions or even billions of years, or will be subducted at some point on its journey. Disappear into the mantle and melt again. But the rock is never really gone.
The rock is not being "born". "Earth" is not being born. It's always there. It simply is changing its form, its state.
It's both a magical story and a scienctific story.
Why experiencing volcanoes with a geologist is the best decision you can make
It's this story that geologists love to tell. Experiencing Hawai'i with a geologist opens up the world to you – literally.
Experiencing lava flows in real life is much more than just getting close to the hissing, glowing, scorching, super-hot lava rivers. It's more than a mere thrill. More than a mere mind-blowing sight.
When witnessing lava flows in real life, you witness the life cycle of Earth.
It'd be sad if you missed this revelation simply because you never learned it.
Fret no more! You're at the right place.
I'm Daniela and I'm a geologist – who happens to ADORE Hawai'i (that's why I'm hugging a Hawaiian post in this image, see how happy I am?).
Geology + Hawai'i is a great combination, since Hawai'i is a geologist's paradise. Let me introduce you to these islands in a structured, curated video course that is heavily focussed on the geological story of the Hawaiian Islands:
About the author
Daniela is convinced that by gaining deep insights into planet Earth and travel destinations you’ll create meaningful, grounding and memorable life and travel experiences. She explains fundamental geological processes that form and shape landscapes and combines these insights with philosophical and philanthropical views in her online courses, articles, podcast and newsletter. She holds two bachelor's degrees in geosciences (B.Sc.) and business administration with tourism (B.A.). She is the owner and founder of EarthyMe, EarthyUniversity and the Science of Travel blog and podcast and the STORIES OF EARTH newsletter.