Kilauea: Mountain of Fire

Kilauea continually molds Hawaii’s Big Island. Creating new land, shaping ancient forests and carving tunnels through the earth, the volcano fascinates a dedicated group of scientists and filmmakers who follow its every action. Using innovative new imaging technologies to map the magma chamber, following the lava’s heat along its journey underground, and listening to the constant noises of its movements, geologists map the shifting liquid earth as they work to understand its awesome force.

Ejecting fire, molten rock, giant boulders and poisonous gases, the volcano can be a hazard for researchers, homeowners, plants and animals, but it doesn’t just leave destruction in its wake. Twists and turns in the lava’s flow leave some patches of original ecosystems, called kipukas, undisturbed. These oases of life provide a haven to many rare creatures — including the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene — but remain in constant danger from the volcano and from invasive species. Below the surface, inactive lava tubes provide homes for many unique species of darkness-loving creatures called troglobites.

At the end of its journey, the lava meets the ocean. Braving an extremely hot sea, filmmakers record the birth of new land and the incredible phenomenon of pillow lava – a bizarre and truly magical sight to behold.

Violent and beautiful, destructive and creative, Kilauea: Mountain of Fire explores the incredible power of the volcano and the challenges of life in its shadow.

Kilauea: Mountain of Fire premieres Sunday, March 29 on PBS.

  • armin

    thank you

  • Mel Zuck

    We eagerly await Kilauea: mountains of Fire only to discover that, as so often happens, UNCTV does not follow the national schedule. Share this complaint.

  • briantravelman

    Are there gonna be any animals?

  • NATURE Online

    Yes, there are animals in the episode. For example, you’ll see troglobites that live in the darkness of the lava tube and yellowjackets that threaten native insects.

  • briantravelman

    What about Sea Turtles?

  • Joel tvedten

    I’ve walked up to the point whet the lava hits the sea. It is truly an awe inspiring experience! I hope to go back some day!

  • Jamie

    One day I’ll see this awesome spectacle in person. Until then, thanks for the awesome videos.

  • Nature staff says…

    Hey, briantravelman…do you visit the Nature site everyday? I enjoy your comments. No sea turtles in this episode…just in the podcast.

  • JohnW

    What a great subject! Must have been a real challenge to film some of those shots. Kudos to the staff for the patience and perseverence to make them. Makes commercial videography seem like a walk in the park.

  • Janet

    This will be great to see. In 2007 we took a cruise with NCL among most of the islands and were able to take a helicopter flight over Kilauea. It’s a must see!

  • Rain

    I usually only watch animal Nature episodes, but after reading the overview of this episode and knowing how much of a spectacle it is, I really can’t wait until Sunday night for the episode to show.

  • Dave Raum

    I lived on the Big Island at a most spectacular time, 1983-1988. I watched the lava flow across highways, through neighborhoods and into the sea. There was no stopping it, despite the efforts of the firetrucks with water hoses attempting to solidify the lava. I felt the earth shake as the magma would drop and watched the sky glow red all night, oh, and the Pele’s Hair fall from the sky like long slivers of golden hair ! It is incredible !

  • Fran Michaels

    my niece and nephews live in the village of volcano and have for many years. They are very familar with the Volcanic eruptions. In fact there is a Lava Tube near one of their homes. I also have visited the Island and watched the glow in the sky. It is incredible.

  • Les Holbrook

    just went to program the show to keep and saw that kvie 1 or 2 in sacramento isn’t carrying it at 8. what time is it on?

  • NATURE Online
  • Cheryl

    I just came back from Hawaii–took the helicopter ride over Kilauea. I am so frustrated because our cable doesn’t carry the Nature channel or a public tv channel that is showing this program!

    First time to see a volcano and it was awsome. Like our tornados, the lava leaves its path of destruction, but also leaves other spaces untouched–like the building with the red roof!

  • Cheryl

    I did find the Kilauea program on April 4 at 3 pm.

    My apologies to my cable company!

  • Lori

    This was phenomenal. We visited Kilauea in November and went with a boat company to see the lava flow into the ocean. This program showed a lot of what we saw, so it was incredible to see the lava flow underwater. Thanks so much for filming this for all of us to see. Amazing!

  • Robert Dafforn

    i walked on the cooling lava flow and saw the night display from my cruise ship, a trip of a life time.
    I was wondering what year the program was shot?

  • Rod

    I stood in almost exactly the same spot near the ocean entry point that they shot the video of the littoral explosions. I was there in the middle of the night in the pitch black and stood on lava so hot that we couldn’t stand there long. It was truly the experience of a lifetime. Dangerous yes, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the safety there is. It is one of the most remarkable places on earth and I’m going back!

  • Peter Thrasher

    Fantastic program. I have been to Hawaii many times,the first being 1983 then in 1984 when Kilueau blew.Wow what an experience.Always go to the Big Island.

  • Brad Clarry

    As someone who is a Big Island native i’ve seen many videos of Kilauea over the last 26 years and this definitely rates as one of the best ! While i presently live in Alaska , i witnessed Kilauea Iki 50 yrs. ago this Nov. in 1959 which is still considered the most spectacular Kilauea eruption of all time. I have also hiked thru the rain forest to within a half mile of the base of Pu’u O’o ……… very exciting ! Thank you for the latest video documentary !

  • Eldonna Leis

    I had the good fortune to walk up to the lava flow in 1991. Very dangerous, and suffered bad burns on the soles of my feet. An amazing experience. Not recommened for the average person. I returned last year but at a safer distance. Your film was wonderfully shot and throughly enjoyable, especially for Volcano enthusiasts like me. Thank you!!! I can’t wait to view it again and might even purchase the DVD.

  • briantravelman

    Oh man! There are so many things wrong with this episode…
    One, there’s a lot of people!
    Two, there’s almost no animals! Kilauea has a lot more animals then just bees and bugs!
    Three, it showed people killing nature!
    Four, it showed people filming; that’s what the behind the scenes is for!
    Five: You lide! You said there was gonna be no Sea Turtles and there was one!
    Six: You shortened the theme song for no reason!

    I thought we had this discussion already, NO PEOPLE!
    I know those people risked their lives to get that footage, but this one was a dissapointment! I could make a much better episode then this!

  • briantravelman

    Sorry! I’m not trying to be mean, just a little constructive critisism! Overall, I would give it a 3 out of 5! Because if there weren’t any people and more animals, it would probably get a 5!

  • Stuart Edmondson

    I recently viewed your Kilauea Mountain of Fire episode and it was most impressive-great shots and dialog.
    My geological and cave experience led to suspicions while watching the lava tube cave portion of the show where the subject stated stalactites formed on the lava cave roof were the result of “Rising and falling lava in the tubes…” Rather I would bet the more logical process involved water simply dripping from the cave roof as clearly seen in the video itself. Wish the camera had panned the cave floor! Dripping water can form stalactites fairly quickly under the right conditions and it looks like the process was caught on camera!
    Great episode! Keep them rolling out!

  • lYDIA

    I learned something new. Very well presented. I want more of this island and all the volcanos it has!!!

  • Clear Blue

    Does anyone know what audio software the guy was using to record and listen to the volcano sounds? I would really like to know what he was using.


  • phil

    shut up

  • ron shepard

    I’ve been to the big island 6 times since 2003 and i’m going again Oct 2011 and I,ve n3ever been able to see lava flowing it’s always flowed outside the park so they kept people far away so all you saw was steam plumes when it entered the ocean I guess you need to either take a helicopter or boat tour to see in person if anyone from nature have any ideas on how i might see this wonder of nature (other than watching your show which I love by the way ) in prerson Please Please let me know .I’ll be on the island and in Volcano National Park on Oct.23 2011
    Please Help If You Can
    Ron shepard

  • cooper dalhart

    who is the guy in the episode that lives alone in the last home near the lava flows? He was really interesting…

  • Potter

    As beautiful as the program was, I have a couple of questions… to the taxpayer-funded PBS, and the viewers. 1. Looking at the absolute glory of 2000deg magma being introduced into 80deg seawater(in one day), do you realize that what is released is CARBON DIOXIDE!!! MORE than 10,000,000(YES, TEN MILLION) cars could release in ONE day(or a Coal plant in 10 years)! Who are you going to TAX to pay for that? Hawaii residents?!?! NO!!! 2. Who is paying for these “expeditions” that on one day, is “demonizing” CO2, and the next day, glorifying it…? THE TAXPAYERS!!! Hoe is it that “global warming” has been proven on MARS(shrinking of polar caps), and we only have TWO S.U.V.’S on it? Oh yes, they are SOLAR POWERED TOO!!!!! You guys need to grow up and look at reality! The “New Green(environmentalism)”, is the “Old RED(Communism)”! Being SO “insightful”, and “compassionate”,,, I hope to gain some true insight! Before you chastise me and berate me, think about it, PLEASE! I am ALL ABOUT our planet, but this is getting VERY ridiculous!

  • Carol Anne (aka Scamp)

    I watched the program last night (Comcast On-Demand). I’d give the science an A, the photography a B (no life jackets worn at sea?), and the narration a D. Too pretentious a script, too dramatic a voicing of it.

  • Jay Weidert

    My remarks is to show that the show is fixed..
    To many things the other HG do or should I say do not do to win HOH, VETOS.

  • Tsegga

    Wow, what a brilliant show thanks PBS! I really wanted the show to continue even if the 1st presidential debate was coming up next! Amazingly beautiful and grateful to the courageous people that made this possible for us to view it first hand, especially when the pillow lava was evolving!!! Simply brilliant!!

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