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Hawaii Volcanoes: Lava flows put on good shows

Spectacular even by the standards of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, the ongoing eruption at Kilauea has shattered records and drawn big crowds this spring.
In late April, the lava lake at the summit of Kilauea rose to unprecedented levels. Visitors have been treated to fiery nighttime displays of fumes and molten rock.
"It is really, really amazing," says Jessica Ferracane, public affairs specialist for the park. "It's been making international headlines. Our visitation has soared."
"It's pretty spectacular and amazing. It's nice to see that (the Hawaiian volcano goddess) Pele is definitely home and putting on such a big show," Ferracane says.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses ecological zones ranging from ocean coastline to alpine wilderness. More than 150 miles of hiking trails wind through these regions, ranging from sea level to 13,667 feet in elevation.
"One of my favorite places is not somewhere that a lot of people go," says Elizabeth Fien, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. "It's where the 1974 flow is. There are 10- and 15-foot lava trees near Keanakakoi Crater. To me, its one of the most incredible places in the park."
Lava trees are rock formations created when fast-flowing lava engulfs a tree. Some lava cools and hardens around the trunk, while the rest flows away. "To me, it's likeStonehenge," Fien says.
Her group's volunteers have helped remove invasive plant species from park forests since 1997. They also raise money to help the critically endangered nene — or Hawaiian goose — and honuea, or hawksbill sea turtle.
"It is so diverse. There's ocean. There's rainforest. There's the Kau Desert. There's lava. I mean, there's not many places in the world quite like our park," Fien says.

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