|Location:||East Maui, near Hana Airport. Past mile marker 31 turn left on Ula'ino Road, 600m to the Visitor Center. (20°47'34.41"N, 156°1'57.84"W)|
|Open:||All year Mon-Sat 10:30-15:30. |
|Fee:||Adults USD 11,95, Children (0-5) free. |
|Address:||Island Spelunkers, Post Office Box 40, Hana, Hi. 96713, Tel. +1-808-248-7308|
|Last update:||$Date: 2011/12/13 09:11:38 $|
The Highway to Hana is one of the most famous tourist roads on the Hawaiian Islands. Once it was build as a dirt road leading to the small town of Hana in the southeast corner of Maui in 1926. Befor the village was only accessible by boat. In 1962 the road was paved, but still it was narrow and winding. Some years ago the road was rebuild again, completely repaved and widened. If you plan a visit to Hana Lava Tube, do not forget the two hours drive on the highway to Hana!
Hana Lava Tube, which is called Ka'eleku Caverns by the Polynesian natives, is a lava tube on private ground. Some years ago it was visited only on guided spelunking tours, but it is now a show cave with electric light and paved paths. The cave is visited in self guided tours now, so there is no waiting any more, and no need to make an appointment. However, the spelunking tours are discontinued now.
Ka'eleku Cavern is entered on a staircase down a collapsed section of the roof. Those holes in the ceiling ar typical for lava tubes. Some were formed when the lava was still flowing through the tube and emanated gases which left the tube through such chimney like holes. Some even got a sort of tube or pyramid around the hole from lava which was thrown up through the hole. But most of those daylight entrances are collape, which happen after some time because of erosion. They are pretty frequent, as the ceiling is rather thin.
The lava tube is now developed with paths, ceiling and electric light. The floor is almost horizontal, and not at all difficult to walk on. Nevertheless, the floor is made of sharp basaltic debris, and good shoes are always recommended for cave visits.
Probably the most astonishing sight it Ka'eleku Cavern are lava speleothems. Similar to stalactites and stalagmites in karst caves there are icicle like protrusions down from the ceiling and upwards from the floor. As a result they are called lava-stalactites and lava-stalagmites. They were not formed by deposition of limestone from dripping water, they were formed already during the formation of the cave, probably in the moment the lava left the tube. At this time the interior was still very hot and patches of molten lava was still on walls and ceiling. And this lava dripped from the ceiling forming the pointy stalactites. And where the patches and drips of cooling, almost hard lava hit the ground it formed a pile of lava, which rounded a little until the lava finally became hard.
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