The Volcanoes of the Big Island

The island of Hawaii has several volcanoes on it in various stages of activity. The Kohala Mountains are extinct volcanoes and Mauna Kea is dormant. There are three active volcanoes on the Big Island:

All three volcanoes are shield volcanoes. Click to find out what a shield volcano is.

Please visit my Volcanoes National Park page for pictures of the park. If you want to see pictures of the live lava, please visit the Volcano Gallery. If you want an up-to-the-minute description of what Puu Oo is doing, please call 808-985-6000 for a very complete message. A trip to the bottom of Chain of Craters Road is very interesting. You will see many former spatter cones on the way down and, if the lava is flowing, the park service may assist you in getting close enough to the flow site to touch the lava (of course, you would never do that.) Start off early in the day, unless you are planning on night time viewing and are prepared with flashlights. Plan on a hot hike of 3 to 4 miles round trip. Its worth it. Where else in the world can you see this?

When you are in the Park, you will want to stop at the Thurston Lava Tube, which is in the middle of a giant tree fern forest. If you wish to see different types of lava, I have the perfect place for you to visit. When you are at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, stop in and see the Jagger Museum or visit the types of lava now.

Have a look at the map below for the lava zones. I believe that most insurers will not provide coverage for volcanic hazard in zones 1 and 2.

A map and legend of lava zones on the Big Island

To get a more complete description of the definition of each lava zone, please see the Lava Zones Table.

You can fly over any property using Google Earth and see where the property sits on the lava zone map. You must have the property address. Just visit this link to the hazards page for Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). You can also download Google Earth from that page.