22 Years Ago At Volcanoes National Park

Bus Buried In 1991 Lava Flow

People are always writing about their most recent trip wherever. We are no different and have several stories at our blog about our 2013 trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and Volcanoes National Park.

What is awesome about the Big Island and Volcanoes National Park is that it changes over time as new lava flows develop and move.

For example, when we went in 1991, on our honeymoon, the bus shown in the attached picture had been recently buried by a new lava flow. Now, the bus is gone and new subdivisions are being cut from the lava. If you are interested in seeing what Volcanoes National Park used to look like and what it now looks like, encourage me to post a story and photos. Let me know you actually read this!!!!


Moderators Note:

This bus is relatively famous and is a relic from a series of flows that eventually swallowed up this area of the island between 1984 and 1990.  This particular shot may not be within the park boundary, but at Volcanoes NP the boundary is a little fuzzy due to the nature of lava flows.  Many areas that are not officially within the park are only accessible from the park, making them technically part of the National Park.  Here’s an excerpt from an article written by the company charged with resurveying this area after the fact.

-“On Sept. 19, 1984, eruptions emitted out of the Pu’u O’o vent of Kilauea, creating a record lava fountain of 1,540 feet. Two years later, in December 1986, a partial area of the Kalapana Gardens subdivision received a preview of what was still to come. A pahoehoe flow, also from the Pu’u O’o vent, made its way down the pali (cliff) reaching the southwest side of Kalapana Gardens. The flow breached Highway 130, putting an end to the continuity of the belt highway that ran along the coast through Kalapana and up the cliff into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But this was just the beginning.

On May 7, 1990, another flow of pahoehoe lava covered the majority of Kalapana and the surrounding area. To finish the job, Pele once more released her power on July 27, 1990, when she completely covered the subdivision with lava. And on September 5 of the same year, she continued her flow to eventually cover the whole area and destroy nearby Kaimu Bay. In just a few years, the once coconut-lined coast was now under a blanket of fresh volcanic rock. Roads were non-existent and a total of 189 structures were destroyed, including 17 burnt homes. The aina (land) had changed forever.” – source


  1. rich_kolb says:

    What if we don’t actually read it, should we let you know?

  2. This is just a crazy photo! I can’t imagine how powerful those flows actually are.

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