USGS HVO Press Release - Walk the Devastation Trail on Kīlauea Volcano

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HAWAI‘I ISLAND, Hawai‘i — Hawai‘i Island residents and visitors are invited to join a scientist guided walk through a stark volcanic landscape of skeletal tree trunks, bleached white by decades of sun exposure, and cinder- and spatter-covered ground on Jan. 22. 

This one-mile round-trip walk along the Devastation Trail will be led by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Kelly Wooten and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park botanist Mark Wasser. The walk will take about an hour.

In 1959, lava fountains up to 1,900 feet high erupted from Kīlauea Iki Crater. Falling cinder and spatter (bits of molten lava) blown to the southwest by prevailing trade winds stripped leaves and branches from trees, buried nearby forests, and built a cone now called Pu‘u Pua‘i, or Gushing Hill.

As visitors walk along the paved path, Wooten will point out tree molds preserved in welded spatter and other interesting volcanic features and products. Wasser will discuss the forest flora and its recovery since the 1959 eruption.

The hike is free and open to the public, but Park entrance fees apply. Hikers should wear walking shoes and be prepared for cool, rainy weather.

Pre-registration is not required. Meet Wooten and Wasser at 10 a.m. sharp at the Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook parking area on Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A map to this area is available at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/caldera_map_final.pdf.

The Devastation Trail walk is one of many programs offered by HVO in January during Hawai‘i Island's Volcano Awareness Month.

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo

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