Historic Hawaii volcano video


Look at this vintage film I found—eruptions at Kilauea volcano in 1959 and 1960.

Both eruptions were significant. 

The first half of the video shows the Nov. 1959 eruption at Kilauea Iki crater, which produced fountains of lava up to 1,400 feet high. Because of its convenient location near Kilauea’s summit, near the visitor center and volcano observatory, the month-long eruption drew thousands of locals and tourists to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The eruption in the second half of video occurred three weeks after Kilauea Iki. Lava suddenly spurted up 24 miles northeast of the summit, near papaya fields behind the tiny village of Kapoho. The January 1960 eruption produced spectacular 1,000 foot fountains of lava visible—my parents have told me—30 miles away in Hilo. The month-long eruption eventually destroyed Kapoho and a nearby lava-heated springs. (The springs were immortalized in the 1951 film Bird of Paradise.)

I’ve been fairly close to the slow-moving lava entering the ocean from Kilauea’s current eruption. But I’ve never seen fountains of lava as large as the ones in the video while growing up on the Big Island. Born too late, I guess.

Enjoy! Do you remember these eruptions?

Categories: Hawai‘i Island