What’s in store for Hawaii landscape after eruptions?
David Bacon

Every day I look at the photos and videos of the lava overwhelming people’s homes in Puna, on Hawaii’s Big Island.  I’ve stayed in the home of a friend there, which is now undoubtedly covered with molten rock.  My heart goes out to everyone who’s lost a home, and to those who’ve known this beautiful place.

Like many, I’ve thought also about what Leilani Estates will look like years from now.  The landscape of congealed lava, after an eruption, is desolate and surreal, but in its way, also strangely beautiful.  I post these photos of two places where I’ve taken photographs to show this, to honor those who now will have to deal with what’s happened.

One, Moana Ulu, is a shield volcano on the side of Kilauea, where the eruption began in 1969 and went on for several years.  The other images are of lava in the flow that buried Kalapana and Kaimu in 1990.  In both places, on the congealed lava flow, you see the resurgence of life – fern and coconut seedlings pushing up through the cracks in the crust.

A field of lava, cinders and lava plugs created by the eruption of Moana Ulu. | David Bacon
On the field of lava from the eruption of Pu’u O’o on Kilauea volcano, Hawaiians have placed artifacts paying tribute to continued native sovereignty. | David Bacon
David Bacon
David Bacon
Fissure from which lava poured in the eruption of Moana Ulu. | David Bacon


David Bacon
David Bacon

David Bacon is a California-based photojournalist. See his website for more of his work.