Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The park contains a typical visitors center where one can view videos about how the Hawaiian Islands were formed. The "Chain of Craters" road winds past a variety of craters, vents and old flows from Kilauea. Each flow is well marked with the date and it's very obvious which flows are newer or older. The new lava quickly forms a blue-black irridescent color as it cools. This soon turns to a rich dull black. As the flows age and become more weathered, more of the iron in the lava oxidizes. The older the flow, the more dull and red the lava, due to oxidation of the iron in the rock.
As of Sept. 2002, the Chain of Craters road winds its way down to the coast and ends where it has been covered over by the latest and current flow from Kiluaea. From that point, it is possible to trek out over the fresh lava to view current flows. Be sure to wear good shoes since the lava is both very hot and very sharp.
The molten lava is over 2000 degrees farenheit and the surrounding air is filled with sulfer dioxide. As you breath the sulfer dioxide, it combines with the moisture in your lungs to form sulfuric acid. Nice. Needless to say, its not somewhere to go for a picnic. I found I had to move in, take a shot, and then move away quickly before my face burst into flames! (Well, at least it felt that way.)