Swim down under Hawaiian waters with PBS Digital Studios’ UnderH20 team to watch how lava from the rumbling Kilauea crater bursts into the Pacific Ocean, and then quickly cools to form what’s called pillow lava.
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Lava flows are powerful and fascinating to watch. We saw this one on Devour, and immediately watched it and the one above. These are both from Kilauea’s Pu`u O`o crater, which “has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries.”
For a more personal take on the event, meet a man who lived next to the flows for 30 years.
Kilauea’s Pu`u O`o crater has been erupting off and on, with little interruption, since January 3, 1983. In the last few months, it took over a green area called Royal Gardens, where a lone house, a bed and breakfast called The Lava House, was the only structure. It was run by Jack Thompson, who moved into his home in 1983, the day before a huge eruption that destroyed all other homes nearby. Tourists visited Jack’s home via helicopter in a video — the beginning and the end from about 5:15s really give a good view. From June 2011:
Jack and his home are completely cut-off from the outside world. Jack uses a generator for a few hours a day and has a cell phone to chat with the reporters who frequently call him, as well as the helicopter companies that call to check on the weather. Jack does have satellite TV. His water is collected from rain water and stored in a large tank (very common in remote areas of Hawaii).
Every seven to ten days Jack hikes to town for supplies. The hike is an eerie, risk filled trek across three and a half miles of lava to the closest road, which was also cut-off by a lava flow. From there Jack rides a bike he stores nearby, to town.
Spared for three decades, the home was finally consumed a month ago (video with shots from above to compare). Documentarian Leigh Hilbert was on site when Jack had to evacuate his home on March 2nd, 2012. It shows both the power of the lava and Jack’s positive attitude as he prepares to change his life and leave his home.
Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal a playful side to interspecies interaction. In two different locations in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins “rode” the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress. Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species.