[WORLDKINGS] World Tops Academy – Top 5 lava tubes in the world


(worldkings.org) Exploring lava tubes is a great way to get to know more about the volcanic processes that continue to shape the Big Island, especially when there is no lava flowing on the surface. Because they are easy to access and have a fascinating formation history (rivers of lava!) they are a perfect family outing, but more hard-core and multiple-hour spelunking guided tours are also possible.

1. Thurston lava tube



The preferred name for the Thurston lava tube is Nāhuku, which literally means “the protuberances” in the Hawaiian language.

Nāhuku is the most easily accessible of the lava tubes on the Big Island and is one of the main attractions of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can explore part of this large 500-year-old cave, that was left behind after a lava flow, with a stroll from the parking lot through the rainforest. The ceilings are high (up to 20 ft in places!), the floor is flat, and there is lighting installed all along the 600 ft. stretch of the cave, which is open to the public. To get to and from the cave you will have to make a short hike through the lush rainforest.

The tube itself is a great introduction to lava tube geology. You can see the solidified drips and waves of once-liquid lava and the beautiful shapes and colors of minerals draining from the rocks.

2. Kazumura Caves (Puna District)



Kazumura Cave is one of the longest known lava tubes on our planet. It was formed during several eruptions of the Aila’au Lava Flow 500 to 600 years ago, on the flanks of the Kilauea volcano, and has many interesting features. These include canyon-like passages due to thermal erosion, multiple level tubes, lava falls, and ‘frozen’ lava lakes, some of which may not be accessible by a simple tour.

In the year 2002 the length of the cave was measured at 40.8 miles (65.6 km), roughly half of which are side branches. The cave drops 3,602 ft (1,098 meters) over its length, also making it one of the ‘deepest’ known lava tubes. Geologically speaking the Kazumura caves are referred to as a “master lava tube” because you can find nearly every type of lava tube feature in this cave.

3. Kula Kai Caverns



The Kula Kai Caverns are part of the renowned Kipuka Kanohina Cave System on the southern part of the Big Island.

The Kipuka Kanohina Cave System is currently listed as the second longest lava tube in the world and is highly braided and maze-like, with multiple levels and confusing passages. The cave contains several Hawaiian artifacts and evidence of ancient habitation. It also contains soda straw stalactites, numerous large lava balls, many significant gypsum deposits, and paleontological specimens.

4. Kaumana Caves (Hilo)

Kaumana Caves Park is a skylight in a 25-mile long lava tube that was created by a 1881 flow from Mauna Loa. You can explore the caves a short way in both directions before the lava tube enters private property. There are about 2 miles of lava tube here that are accessible to the public.

5. HueHue lava tube

The Huehue lava tube is located about 2 miles north of the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole and was created during the 1801 Huehue flow from the Hualalai volcano. It is clearly visible from Hwy 11, but at the moment we do not recommend that you stop there for a peak because there is no safe way to park your car.

As of January 2019 no-parking signs and concrete barriers have been installed at the lava tube entrance. A no trespassing sign is also posted at the entrance to the lava tube. The state is currently looking into ways to manage access to the Huehue lava tube and we will update this space once more information is available. Until then, please avoid stopping here, but allow yourself to enjoy the view as you pass by.

According to lovebigisland.com.

Bee (Collect) - WORLDKINGS (Source of photos: Internet)


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