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Photo Gallery

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Fire Walking With the Lava Junkies
Lava breaks out of its shell of hardened, black rock

"This is a breakout, or a live surface flow of molten rock. The magma was oozing under the skin of cooled black rock—it's hotter than hell up there. Eventually a buildup of pressure under a certain place will crack the surface over it, and the lava will break out.

"You can't hear anything when the breakout occurs, but afterward you can hear the glass forming—like the sound of a tinkling chandelier. As they cooled, little glass pieces would pop up off the lava lobes, making the ground look like it was covered in grasshoppers."

—Photographer James Balog

Photography Notes

  • Camera: Nikon D100
  • Lens: 50mm
  • Shutter speed: 1/125
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Time of day: 7:00 am

"Most people who spend a lot of time on Kilauea wear mid- to low-range hiking boots. They pick them up at a discount chain store and basically consider them a disposable commodity. Those boots wear out in two to three weeks. I had really good hiking boots, and in 11 days they were bald."


February 2003

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