Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake


For two weeks in the spring of 2015, Halemaʻumaʻu’s lava lake rose – bubbling and fountaining – to the rim of the vent, now and then gushing onto the crater floor. Vigorous lava fountains danced at the lake’s edge while circulating plates of lava rimmed with luminescent orange filled its center. Pele was visibly home, and those present around the crater responded with delight, awe, and reverence.

Halema‘uma‘u crater is home to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, and is a wahikapu or sacred place. In March 2008, after twenty-six years of quiet, the floor of Halema‘uma‘u ruptured as deep magma pushed its way toward the surface, causing explosions, pulsating red and orange glow and billowing gas emissions. With time and countless tremors, rockfalls and booms, the gas conduit slowly widened and developed into a lava lake visible in 2015.

Original painting size: 18in. × 24in.