In the world of natural wonders, some captivate our imagination and leave us in awe. One such phenomenon is the enigmatic “Portal to Hell” in Hawaii, a place that seems to have captured the souls of the damned.
This photograph, taken in 1996 by Dr. Laszlo Kestay, director of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, showcases a hauntingly bizarre lava formation that has fascinated observers for decades. But, what is the real story behind this eerie spectacle? Let’s delve into the explanation of this otherworldly sight.
Unveiling the Skylights in Lava Tubes:
The eerie image in question is not a gateway to the underworld, as some might believe. Instead, it is a remarkable example of what volcanologists call a “skylight.” Skylights are openings in the roof of a lava tube. They offer a mesmerizing view of the molten lava flowing beneath. Picture it as nature’s own skylight, giving us a peek into the subterranean world of volcanic activity.
This particular skylight is situated at the West Kamokuna lava flow in Hawaii, specifically below Pulama Pali. It is a prime location for scientific observation due to its accessibility and proximity to volcanic activity. Dr. Laszlo Kestay wisely chose this spot to study the mesmerizing natural processes that occur beneath the Earth’s surface.
Nightmarish Figures Surrounding The Opening!
The seemingly twisted souls and nightmarish shapes that grace the sides of this skylight are not otherworldly entities. They are rather the result of a fascinating geological process. The toes of pahoehoe lava frozen around the skylight are remnants of a lava flow. This flow, originating from the Puu Oo vent, made its way through insulating lava tubes.
Over time, these tubes “inflate” as more lava is injected into their molten interiors, resulting in thick lava flows. The lava movement becomes concentrated into narrow pathways as less favorable routes freeze, forming what we know as a lava tube. In certain spots, the roof of these tubes collapses, creating a “skylight” through which we can observe the flowing lava.
A Rare Photograph
Dr. Kestay’s photograph captures a truly exceptional moment in nature. Witnessing an active surface flow crossing over an active skylight is a rare occurrence. Even in the era of film cameras, where each shot counted, this was a moment worth preserving. The combination of a skylight and lava tubes, along with the lava flow above it, gave rise to eerie shapes that might remind us of tortured souls or nightmarish figures.
In essence, what we see in this photograph is the interaction of lava tubes, skylights, and the cooling and hardening of lava. The eerie shapes are the result of the lava flow cooling and forming twisted figures. It’s a natural phenomenon, not a supernatural portal.
The “Portal to Hell” in Hawaii may have a terrifying appearance, but its true nature is firmly rooted in science. This captivating skylight in a lava tube offers us a rare glimpse into the fascinating world of volcanic activity. Rather than being a gateway to the underworld, it is a testament to the extraordinary geological processes that shape our planet. The photograph may spark our imagination. However, it ultimately serves as a reminder of the wonders of the natural mysteries that unfold beneath our feet.