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In the course of studying planetary analogs on Earth, especially in the cases of Mars and the moon, I have visited and hiked in many volcanic areas. In addition, the International Association for the Astronomical Arts has sponsored painting trips to volcanic regions such as Iceland and the Canary Islands. These are some of the paintings that have resulted from those travels. Most of these were done from nature, on site.

777 HAWAII MaunaLoaDuskBetter IMG_8237 
777 -- The Moon and Venus over Mauna Loa at dusk. This view of the enormous Mauna Loa volcano, from near Highway 11 milepost 33, close to the south edge of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, has always hypnotized me (whether the moon or planets are visible in the sky or not). The 14,000 foot summit of dark-lava Mauna Loa volcano, beautifully curved from this vantage point, is roughly 15 miles away. This long sight-line allows lots or room for pure deep, scattered, blue, evening light, in the clear, Pacific air, to dominate richly the apparent color of massive volcano. 
749 HAWAII Kilauea Eruption June2012 1200pix739 ARIZONA Sunset Crater 900pix 2011
749 -- Kilauea Eruption June 2012. The eruption plume from Halemaumau pit crater, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. As I painted this view from a relatively nearby site on the Kilauea caldera rim, I thought about how the subtle colors of the fumes must involve the chemistry of the eruption. The hot molecular gas fumes, exiting from the pit, scatter blue light. As they cool, the water vapor molecules condense into droplets forming steam clouds (as with cumulous clouds). As winds blow the steam cloud into the warm southern distance (right), the droplets evaporate, leaving a brownish haze of volcanic ash particles.739 -- Sunset Crater. A National Monument, the Crater is about 20 miles northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is probably the youngest volcano in the volcanic field near Flagstaff, having erupted in 1064, spreading ash that affected Native American villages in that area. It’s a beautiful example of symmetric volcanic cone, rising about 1100 feet above the surrounding meadows and woodlands --- which are interrupted by scattered, rugged lava flows.
736 ARIZONA Uncertain Weather San Francisco Peaks Flagstaff689 HAWAII Halemaumau eruption plume 1600pix
736 -- Uncertain weather over Mt. Humphreys, Flagstaff, Arizona. The peak is the remnant of an ancient volcano that erupted from roughly 1 million to 400,000 years ago. It rises to elevation 12,633 feet today (and is a popular ski center), but originally rose several thousand feet higher, having been reduced by collapses, avalanches, and erosion. This 2011 view is painted from a meadow across the street from the beautiful Museum of Northern Arizona, a few miles northwest of downtown Flagstaff. 689 -- Smoke plume from Halemaumau pit crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This 2008 view looks eastward from the rim of the roughly 2 mile wide Kilauea summit caldera; on the floor of the caldera is the smaller pit, “Halemaumau,” from which eruptions have occasionally burst forth in the past few centuries.
666 NICARAGUA__Vocano near Granada 900pix 2007Feb665 NICARAGUA MasayaPark MouthOfHell 900pix 2007Feb
666 -- Fuming lavas and cinder cones near Granada, Nicaragua. My Nicaragua paintings were made during International Association of Astronomical Artists workshop in February, 2007. Our group lunched at a restaurant over looking this geothermal scene.665 -- “The Mouth of Hell.” Summit caldera in Masaya National Park, Nicaragua. Nicaragua is strongly volcanic and Spanish priests in the 1500s christened the smoking Masaya summit the “mouth of hell,” planting a cross on the rim (a replacement still stands). The National Park, Nicaragua’s first, was established in 1979 and has modern facilities and a beautiful museum. While painting this 2007 view, I was struck by colors of the fumes: blue scattered light dominated where seen against the dark lavas, but reddish brown transmitted light dominated when seen against the bright background of the sky.
456 - El Teide Volcanic Park, on Tenerife, Canary Islands424 - The Pinacate Volcanic Complex
456 -- El Teide Volcanic Park, on Tenerife, Canary Islands. This volcanic summit dominates the center of the island of Tenerife and is an impressive National Park. Wisps of steam and smoke could be seen at the summit. The park is generally quite wild, although a cable car runs visitors to the top of this huge cone. A palette knife proved unexpectedly useful in getting texture in the lava flow. Painted from nature.424 -- The Pinacate Volcanic Complex straddles the border of Arizona and Sonora at the head of the Gulf of California. It was used as a training ground for Apollo astronauts and contains kilometer scale calderas and Mars-like dunes and lavas. My book, Desert Heart, is about the natural history of this area.
281 - Boiling Mud Pot near Lake Myvatn, Iceland286 - Elegante Crater and an Eruptiion on the Pinacates, Sonora, Mexico
281 -- Boiling Mud Pot near Lake Myvatn, Iceland. This region reminded me of primordial Earth, before plants took over the landscape. Myvatn is a geothermal area that is the "Yellowstone" park of Iceland. This view was painted from nature during a joint workshop between the International Association for the Astronomical Arts, and the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1988.286 -- Elegante Crater and an Eruption on the Pinacates, Sonora, Mexico. The Pinacate volcano has probably been dormant for centuries or millenia. However, local Native American legends of the O'odham people tell of an event where their "elder brother god," I'itoi, built fires on the summit to lower the summit and alter the sunset time. This sounds like a legend of eruptive activity. The view is across the 1-kilometer crater, Elegante, which is one of several large calderas in the area. Painted from nature.
293 - Creating Land in the Sea186 - View of Summit Cinder Cone and Aa Lava Flow in Pinacate Volcanic Complex, Sonora, Mexico
293 -- Creating Land in the Sea. This view is based on my recollection of flying over the new volcanic island of Surtsey, off Iceland, in 1965. The picture was painted in the studio of Ron Miller (with his advice and help!) for our book, The History of Earth (NY: Wadsworth Publishing).186 -- View of Summit Cinder Cone and Aa Lava Flow in Pinacate Volcanic Complex, Sonora Mexico. Painted from nature at Red Cone Camp.

(All paintings Copyright William K. Hartmann).

For more volcano paintings, check the Hawaii Volcano Gallery

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