Like moths to a flame, humans are frequently most attracted to what we know is dangerous. And there is no better example of this than the strange, alluring beauty of the lava spewing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano this May.
On May 4, fissures along the east of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano ripped opened, releasing bubbling lava onto the landscape. It was just the first of many fissures that would rupture over the month and could continue for months to come. On May 17, an explosive blast erupted from Kilauea.
On Saturday, officials reported the first known injury after Kilauea’s eruption, when lava splatter hit a man standing on his balcony. The Washington Post followed up on Monday with report that dozens of homes have been destroyed as lava pours out of fissures along Kilauea’s rift zone. And in addition to contact with lava or lava splatter, residents must also beware of laze, toxic gas filled with glass and acid that results when lava meets the ocean.
But somehow, even with the danger that lava brings, watching the fiery substance surge, bubble, and burst (from a safe distance of course) can be calming, peaceful, and, dare we say it, beautiful.
Here are six oddly mesmerizing live streams of lava from Kilauea that you won’t be able to look away from.
1. Lava spews from Hawaii volcano in Pahoa, Hawaii
CNN’s Tuesday live stream of the blast lava in Hawaii is a study in color.
For five hours, the network hosted a Facebook Live of Kilauea’s lava spouting into the air. But as the bright orange flames dye the Hawaiian night sky with an orange hue, it’s hard not to get lost into the fearsome display of the scene in Pahoa.
2. Kilauea lava flow activity in Lower Puna, Hawaii
You’ve never seen a sunrise like this. On Monday, the Honolulu Civil Beat uploaded a live stream showing Kilauea’s lava activity in Lower Puna, Hawaii as the sun rises and day breaks.
The stream is a little over five hours, which means users can watch the sky go from night to day, all while the lava flow remains constant in the background. One of the most serene parts of the video is actually at the start of the live stream, when a rooster crows, birds chirp, and thunder claps while the lava continues its fearsome display in the background.
TBH, it’s like listening to soothing ambient nature sounds but with a terrifying twist.
3. Lava spews from kilauea fissure in Hawaii
On Monday, NBC News Affiliate KHNL offered yet another serene look at the volcanic activity in Hawaii with a roughly two hour live stream (with some breaks) of lava from Kilauea.
Over the course of the stream, the camera cuts to different angles of the lava, providing both a sense of scale of the eruption and its effects on the Hawaiian landscape.
4. Kilauea Lava Erupting In Lower Puna
On Thursday night and into Friday morning, the Honolulu Civil Beat live-streamed lava from Kilauea shooting into the air in Lower Puna.
But what’s notable about the stream is its framing. The video opens with the black backdrop of night, but in the center of the video, shining like a beacon, is Kilauea’s lava gushing into the air. The result is a live stream that feels oddly cozy, like that feeling you get when sitting around a campfire at night.
5. Kilauea Lava Flow Fissure 16
On May 14, days before Kilauea’s first explosive blast, the Honolulu Civil Beat uploaded a video showing lava activity at a fissure along the volcano.
Over the course of 14 minutes, users are treated to a close up, high-definition peek at Kilauea’s lava spurting and oozing into the air. But the visible details of the lava, like the molten rock’s ridged-looking edges as it gushes into the air, somehow makes the display calming rather than frightening, like ASMR but with flames.
6. Inside Halema‘uma‘u Lava Lake
Lava doesn’t need to be cascading into the air for it to be beautiful.
On May 9, the Honolulu Civil Beat shared a video, curtesy of the United States Geological Survey, of a lava lake in the Halema‘uma‘u crater on Kilauea. Though only 39 seconds, the video gives brief yet unforgettable glimpse at the bubbling lava pooled inside the volcano, a notable contrast to the volcanic blasts we typically think of when we imagine lava.
So yes, lava is dangerous. But, if you can find the right view, it can also be meditative too.