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caving trips


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- Mirror Lake

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(Worm Flows)

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columbia gorge

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Cultural History

Geologic History


Thurston Lava Tube


Thurston Lava Tube is located in Volcano National Park on Big Island, Hawai'i. It is the only show cave amongst the numerous lava tubes on the Hawai'ian islands. It is one of numerous sights of the Park, and like the other sights it can be visited all day without restrictions on a self guided tour.

The park also has several active volcanoes. An eruption which continued for decades reached a state, where the lava flow built its own tunnel, which is still filled with lava. The lava flows underground and reappears after several kilometers at the sea.

Thurston lava tube reached the next stage of its development. The eruption ended, the lava left the tube and it cooled down. Today its rather cool and moisty inside, as the area above the cave is covered by rain forest. The roots of trees and other plants go through the roof of the cave and hang down from the ceiling.

Thurston lava tube is entered through a collapsed part of the roof. The cave is obviously a single passage, nearly round and of nearly constant diameter. It winds uphill with about 2%. The exit is another, much smaller, collapsed part of the roof.

Thurston lava tube is only very short. 500 feet is not much compared to other lava tubes with several miles. On the other hand, lava tubes are very uniform, so you can see most typical features of this type of caves in Thurston lava tube very well.

The trail leading to Thurston lava tube is plush and tropical.  As we had been in lava tubes like this before, we weren't too impressed by the tube itself.  When you've seen Ape Cave and Deadhorse, this isn't very spectacular.  However, for those tourists who haven't been to the Northwest, it might be interesting.


Thurston Lava Tube Links


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