The Kazamura Lava
Tubes are the longest and deepest system in the world!
These beautiful and colorful caverns will fill you with a sense of awe and
mystery as you are lead through their maze by a knowledgeable and entertaining
guide. Our guide will lead you through years of island history and review the
unique plate tectonics that have been occurring here in the pacific ocean,
and explaining the creation of lava tubes and various lava formations throughout the
Once you enter the tube, you will be standing inside the
most active volcano in the world. Carved out between
500 and 700 years ago, these spacious caves,
standing some 80 feet high and 100 feet wide in places,
are covered in colorful flow stone, stalactites
years ago, Kilauea Iki, a crater on the east side
of Kilauea Volcano Caldera, started to erupt..
Lava from the crater began to flow down the north east flank of the volcano
toward the sea, 25 miles away. As the lava covered more and more of the
surface, channels started to form in the flow. These channels allowed the
bulk of the flow to be carried downstream more efficiently. Levees would
then begin to build up on the sides of the channels followed by the crusting
over of the top. When
the crusting over was complete, the channels became a
traveling through a tube is insulated against the cooling effects of the air
and can travel great distances with little heat loss. If you could see lava
flowing through a lave tube, it would appear to be very fluid; but in
reality it is a river of molten rock that has the
consistency of wet concrete. Like wet concrete, lava is very abrasive. The
walls and floor of the tube are heated to a putty-like consistency and then
gouged out by the flow. In this way a lava tube can become deeper and
wider. Given enough time and favorable conditions this down-cutting can
create canyons and lava falls. Lava can also be
forced into cracks or holes in the rock. This could possibly speed up the
process of enlarging the tube.
when lava has been injected into the walls or ceiling it will just remain
there until the lava level in the tube begins to drop. At which time lava
will ooze or gush from these holes and can create
soda straws or soda straw like formations called
vermiform, meaning worm-like.
falling through a hole in the ceiling. The skylight is 3m by 3.50m and is
17m above the floor.
Photographer: Rob Ratkowski
Here is a
computer-animated video of how lava flows through an active cave system
levels in the tube drop; dripping from the ceiling can produce
lavacicles. As lava levels drop further and the
tube begins to drain, air from outside begins to rush in. At this point yet
another tube in a tube is formed. Lava flowing over the falls is already
cooling to a puttylike consistency and begins to pile up upon itself forming
an irregular column called a dribble spire.
form over the plunge pools at the base of lava falls and then begin to sag
as lava drains away from beneath, unable to support it own weight. The last
tubes to form also begin to collapse without lava to support the weight of
their crusts. Cool air cracks the hot surfaces and in places, rocks fall
from the walls and ceiling.
It can take
years for a lava tube to cool. Plants and insects will have already begun
recolonizing the surface. When the tube finally does cool enough to support
life, insects will find their way into the newly formed cave.
is just one of several tubes that formed in that eruption which began at
Kilauea Iki 500 years ago. Lava flowed for anywhere from 60 to 150 years,
depending on who you talk to, and is quite possibly the reason why Kazumura
Cave is the world's largest known lava tube. With 40 miles of surveyed
passages and a vertical extent of 3,602 feet, Kazumura Cave is not only the
longest lava tube, but is also the deepest cave in the United States.
Tours are by appointment, 20 people maximum
on the walking tour and 8 people maximum on the adventure tour.
Participants must be at least 5 years of age. For booking, please call:
last 1 hour for the walking tour, and 3 hours for the adventure tour.
gloves, and flashlights are provided.
or some other well made shoe is required.
Lava is sharp
and will slice up your feet if they are not covered.
Pants can protect your legs in the event you trip and fall, or walk to
close to a sharp rock.
(optional). The cave temperature is
61 degrees F.
and wet. Water drips all the time in places, more when it rains.
All visitors are asked to
observe two rules while visiting the cave:
Do Not Touch Anything!
formations are irreplaceable. Many are quite fragile. When a lava
formation is damaged or broken, it is damaged or broken forever. It will
NEVER grow back! Crystals found in Lava Tubes are also quite fragile so
please do not touch anything.
Do Not Remove Anything From The Cave
so the cave
can be preserved for future generations.
We offer you a choice of two tours:
1-Scenic Walking Tour (1+ hrs.) only $29
(safe and easy)
2-Adventure Tour (3+ hrs.) only $89
(long and adventurous, a spelunkers' dream)
To book your tour, please
We are located just south of Hilo off Highway
11, between Mountain View & Kurtistown.