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Samoa Travel Guide

Remains of LDS Church
Remains of LDS Church

The Lava Field

The road south of Saleaula runs across a wide, barren lava flow. A large stone LDS church, nearly engulfed by the lava at the beginning of the century, is on the northeast side of the road under a large tree about 100 meters off the road near the flow's northern edge.

The so-called Virgin's Grave is about 150 meters west of the church in a rectangular depression about two meters deep in the lava; the grave is clearly visible at the bottom. Someone will collect a small admission at this managed site signposted "Saleaula village lava ruins (1905-1911)."

As the fast-flowing pahoehoe lava approached the coast here in the early years of this century, it built up behind the reef and spread out in both directions. The highway now runs across it for eight km. It's intriguing to stop anywhere and go for a walk on the lava to get a feel for this awesome geological event. Maunga village, 3.5 km southeast of the Virgin's Grave, is built around a circular crater.

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