Thurston Lava Tube

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Thurston Lava Tube

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Thurston Lava Tube - Thurston Lava Tube. Copyright Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ). Just a spacer

As you drive the 1.3 miles from the Pu'u Pua'i Overlook, the forest becomes increasingly lush. Soon you arrive at the Thurston Lava Tube on your right.

A 20 minute 1/3 mile walk though a tree fern forest and lighted prehistoric cavelike lava tube awaits you. This is an excellent place to stop and listen to the birds. Watch carefully and you may see the red apapane feeding among the equally red ohi'a blossoms.

This lava tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston, a local newspaper publisher. At that time the roof of the tube was covered with lava stalactites, but those soon disappeared to souvenir collectors.



See thumbnails of all photos for this point of interest.

Overview



"Take a walk in the dark through Nahuku, known as the Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-year old lava cave located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Lava caves like this are formed when a river of lava gradually builds solid walls and a ceiling. When the lava flow stops and the last of it passes downhill, a cave is formed. These caves can be a few feet high and only yards long, or they can stretch for miles with high ceilings. The Thurston Lava Tube is a fantastic example of a massive lava cave.

Lit by electric lights, with a flat rock floor and a ceiling high enough in the center to keep you from scraping your head, this is a great introduction to lava tube geology. The solidified drips and waves of once-liquid lava rock clearly show the molten forces that created this cave. Your flashlight reveals beautiful shapes and colors of minerals leeching from the rock. After strolling the short, lighted section of Nahuku, there's another segment past the steps leading back up the trail that's completely dark with an uneven floor, so don't venture there unless you are sure-footed and have a strong flashlight. But for the able-bodied adventurer, a walk of 50 yards or so into this part of the lava tube will give you an intense experience, especially if you turn off your flashlight. A tropical rainforest awaits at the end of Nahuku.

There are several lava tubes you can visit around the island but Nahuku is the most easily accessible. You can reserve a spot at a guided park ranger tour of Pua Poo lava tube by calling or visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Visitor Center, the earlier in the day the better."

-Information gathered from www.gohawaii.com/big-island/regions-neighborhoods/kau/nahuku-thurston-lava-tube

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