An 808 way of life

Pu’u ‘O’õ – on the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano

pu'o o'oPuʻu ʻŌʻō (pronounced “poo-oo oh-oh”) is a cinder/spatter cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano of the Hawaiian Islands. The photo herein was taken about 25′ very mouth of Pele. Look close enough and you can see Pele’s mouth, nose and eyes. I was lucky to have gotten up close to this spectacle — as it’s illegal to hike near the volcano. “Oh-oh!”

Puʻu ʻŌʻō has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries. Although the name is often translated as “Hill of the ʻŌʻō Bird” from Hawaiian, there is a different explanation of the Hawaiian appellation. The word ʻŌʻō also means digging stick. Because in Hawaiian legends the volcano goddess Pele uses her magic rod pāoa to create volcanic pits, this seems to be the intention for the naming. The cone was originally informally called “Puʻu O” by volcanologists, who simply assigned letters to vents as they arose during the first part of the eruption.

If you want to get up close – make sure to get a guide who has “been there – done that.” You can only hike in through the dark of night – which makes it even more dangerous. Whew.

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