Kilauea: Mountain of Fire
Video: Full Episode

Kilauea, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is the world’s most active volcano.  Its latest eruption began in 1983 and it hasn’t stopped since.  Since that time it has created 544 acres of new land and has consumed 200 homes. But as we watch nature’s own fireworks display and witness the devastation wrought by flowing lava, we’ve also been able to observe a process that’s central to life on these islands.  The most spectacular moment of creation is when lava pours into the ocean creating new land, and it is here that filmmaker Paul Atkins finds himself getting a shot few have ever filmed — the cataclysmic meeting of 2,000-degree lava and 75-degree ocean water — a sight to behold. Buy the DVD. This film premiered March 29, 2008.

  • Jeff LaDouce


  • Andy Woerner

    Great show… for more video shot of the underwater flow that same day check out

  • Arnie Klaus

    Thanks for posting this program for our TV free family in Hawaii on the night of broadcast. We enjoyed it and all the hard work you shared.

  • Don Decker

    It was a good show, but where is the Global Warming/Global Climate Change tie-in? Every other story you produce has a tie into some CO2 nonsense and we are all going to die senario.

    Or was it that there was no way to credibly blame the American people for this. The sheer amount of gases and the tremendous heat that is being forced into the atmosphere has not effect?

    Please do not blame me for this political statement. If anyone is to blame, it is PBS by making unproven statements and playing the Global Warming card at every opportunity in your presentations.

    Make no mistake Nature does a wonderful job in its videos and I found it educational, but as far as I am concerned the show Nature is tainted and far less than it could be if it didn’t become political.

  • R F Fisher

    With all this material flowing out of the Volcano, doesn’t that create a VOID in the earths mantel some where else??
    How can it discharging this much matter without taking any material back into itself to replace it??

    I was on my Honeymoon in 1983 and visited the Volcano just before it erupted.

    PBS does another great job again!!

  • Sandra Carroccia

    How do I purchase a copy of this?

  • NATURE Online

    To order a copy of this program on DVD, click the “shop” link at the top of the site.

  • Bryan

    The aerial footage was great. I’ve hiked and explored every inch of those areas for 17+ yrs. Puu Oo was like a 2nd home. Lucky the upper vents briefly opened during the filming period. Good U mentioned Jack. It’s actually very easy to track the tube system without the fancy equipment. U really should get the perspective of the everyday explorer on occasion. That ocean entry is less then ideal for diving as the footage showed. Too many bench collapses. It’s just too steep of a drop off along there for new land to hold. There have been way better opps in past years. Overall well done.

  • Connie Jones

    I am a “closet” geologist and volcanologist and this program was superb. I took a Hawaiian cruise a few years ago and the ship passed by Kilauea at 2:00 a.m. early one morning. The passengers had been given notice so I was ready. We watched it from our own private balcony and I will never forget seeing the bright lava against the black night. I actually visited the lava beds the next day and took pictures. Seeing your program brought back a wonderful experience. Keep up the good work!

  • Herbert J Bailey

    This a fantastic program. It shows that the creator is still at work perserving and reshaping the planet for the benefit of life on earth.

  • george moskowitz

    An exceptional program combining beauty with understanding. The photography is exquisite but the dedication and ingenuity of the scientists is superb.

  • Rudy Roux

    Poetic. Sublime. Outstanding. Mesmerizing. Beautiful. I said the word “Wow!” about 50 times while watching this! It’s rare that a program can reduce my vocabulary to one three letter word. The world we inhabit is truly amazing and dynamic. I am inspired by Earth’s seemingly limitless measure of brilliance, diversity and activity. The same can be said for the scientists and filmmakers who, along with Kilauea made this experience possible. Thanks.

  • Gregory

    RF Fisher asks:
    “With all this material flowing out of the Volcano, doesn’t that create a VOID in the earths mantel some where else??
    How can it discharging this much matter without taking any material back into itself to replace it??”

    Through “subduction”, the void is replaced by the Island chain moving slowly to the northwest and sinking back into the sea floor.

  • Wendy

    The underwater footage of the lava flowing is awesome!

  • Jane

    This is the quilting center of Volcano, a co-op made up of local Volcano artists and crafters who make quilts, jewelry, feather leis, ceramics, baskets, and fiber arts. Gift items made by Volcano artists are also sold here, but it’s the quilts and quilting materials that distinguish the shop. Starter kits are available for beginners. I also like the Hawaiian seed leis and items made of lauhala, as well as the locally made soaps and bath products and the greeting cards, picture frames, and candles.

  • Marky

    Volcanoes National Park (808-985-6000; on the southern rim of Hawaii island is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Jocelyn Fujii, who has lived on O`ahu most of her life and wrote “36 Hours in Honolulu” (Sept. 29, 2006), recommends exploring in the late afternoon until sunset and driving the Chain of Craters Road which ends at the ocean. This drive may offer, if Pele the volcano goddess is with you, views of lava flow that give off a mesmerizing glow at dusk.

  • Monica

    The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been erupting steadily since January 1983. I have friends who remember lava fountaining several hundred feet in the air, lighting up their living room windows like it was daytime, even at midnight. I can remember, and mostly flows in underground tubes from the Pu’u O’o vent to the ocean.

  • Talise101

    I have absolutely adored PBS for years and these new additions (shows) are wonderful. Hawaii is absolutely amazing and this was well put together. thanks a bunch!

  • michael p

    was a great show i thought it was nicly done i love nature on pbs and sort of like the cooking and the nova show NATURE IS ASWOME GO PBS!!

  • Gio DODE!!!

    dis is amazin!!!but pbs is to protective…

  • mary w.

    Is there a closed captioning option on your videos watched directly from your website?

  • dylon

    it was fantastic!!!!

  • Denise Meeks

    Fantastic! One of my trips to this spectacular volcano convinced me to pursue and finish a masters in geosciences. Thank you for such an amazing video!

  • Gayle Hoepner

    Used this with my English language learners. They had questions about volcanoes, and this was perfect. Answered some questions and generated more.

  • David Gilmore

    My house is on the eastern slope of Kilauea and I was delighted to see this documentary. Well done. Fascinating to see the underwater pillow lava forming.

  • victoria

    Why such over-dramatic language? Aren’t volcanoes interesting enough without framing their existence like one is talking about an apocalyptic Lord of the Rings battle, and using such words as “relentless destruction” and “hellfire”?

  • Kiera

    I loved the footage especially that of the lava going into the ocean. My young daughter loves volcanos… but was it really necessary to show the wasp bite the head off the bee or the spider eat the cricket. I am wondering what the value added was to the story.

  • Tess

    BRAVO!!!! Just finished watching it and it was brilliant!!

    I think if anything deserves language like “relentless destruction” and “hellfire” it’s Kilauea ~ the problem is not with Nature using the words, it’s with so many other outlets using language carelessly and rendering these phrases virtually cliche.

    As far as wasps biting the heads off spiders, etc. – it’s creepy, but it proved the point of how bad the wasps are for the area, and after all – it’s just part of Nature. If kids are too young for such things, I’m sure PBS Kids has plenty of other ways kids can get her volcano “fix”. Check out their Dragonfly TV:

    A special note about silence. THANK YOU, Nature, for letting there be so much silence during the portion of the program during which we watched the lava pillows form and grow and creep. The amazing underwater tinkling, crackling, bubbling sound told the story so much better than your scripts, no matter how beautifully they’re written or performed by F. Murray Abraham (?)

    Excellent program ~ thank you for your excellence!

  • Andrea Okem

    Should we pay to get this movie?

  • John Rambo

    I don’t know if it’s just me but I LOVE PBS. It has everything you want to see and learn about. Thank you PBS from viewers like us.

  • matt bernstein

    Awesome, before students need to learn the facts, being amazed with fresh inspiring video like this is great!

  • click here

    Thank you so much!! I have just discovered this wonderful artist and his works. They’re so serene and soothing, I use them on my desktop at work. It’s hard to find information written in English about him, though..anyone have any good links? Thanks again!!

  • Eric Liu

    Woah, So cool, its so unnatural where they meet kilauea under water

  • eddie

    That was cool, but you know what would be waay cooler? We should drop a big arse bomb in the center and film it.

    Could be nuclear or just real powerful to damage it like an asteroid or the giant size it is. I just wanna see and know what it would do to it. I’d like to see a giant lava crater or grand canyon volcano!!

    P.S. that guy needs to grow up and stop eavesdropping on the volcano. Its NOT A WOMAN/GODDESS!!! Your research is probably useless too.

  • Nan Adams

    We moved to Hawaii in 1983 and Kilauea started erupting the next day. From our new home way up kaiwiki road we had a perfect unobstructed view of the top of the volcano. What a treat to see Madam Pele’s dramatic show! We were able to watch the eruption for the whole 10 years we lived there, and it hasn’t stopped ’til this day. We were especially blessed to enjoy the beautiful Black Sands Beach before it was over run by lava.

  • George

    Well the whole globe is getting into something. Islands grow, I think it’s all natural for the mother earth. These are beautiful pictures and videos that PBS make. Nice job…

  • Cpotter

    How is it that taxpayers like myself make comments… and they are “filtered” out? If the Government wasn’t stealing money to fund this channel, it would NOT exist! As “Air America” failed, to prove a point!

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    hardwoods that were not as versatile nor as eco-friendly. Before the year 2000, much of these

  • Andrea

    Liked it. Nice stuff.

  • ~online graphing calculator quadratic equations 601..700

    Yeah, seriously, I tell myself I’m going to most likely be an overprotective father, but NOTHING this bad! Reminds me of my fiancee’s father/makes me glad she lived with her uncle. XD

  • quilts

    Lovely, generous idea! I would most likely add these fabrics to either a kid quilt forChildren’s Hospital in Little Rock (an ongoing effort at my co-op extension club) ora prayer quilt. I’ve knitted lots of shawls but just recently heard about prayer quiltsalong the same line, as gifts for the ill or grieving. Right up my alley! There are alwaysplenty of recipients.

  • truth seeker

    Something that makes big political differences that a citizen has no control, nor knowledge of..
    i’m not looking for Obama bashings either…

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    bored in english((((((((:::::

  • jOe

    How do you know that the earth formed 4 1/2 billion years ago? Were you there? Did you see it? This propaganda that you promote is a deadly one. You are a brood of vipers & are poisoning our youth with your deceit. Hear this…in the end, we will all acknowledge the true age of the earth, and every knee will bow…in honor to the Lord, or shattered for betrayal.

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    pro-choice (adjective)
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    Video: Full Episode – Kilauea: Mountain of Fire – Hawaii – Volcano – Lava | Nature | PBS – just great!

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  • Ariana

    Loved it! Showed my husband it also when he got home. The video was easy to skip forward to and has no glitchy problems at all like youtube often does- it was great! Very pleased :) with this site, and the KQED channels!

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