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HVO—100 years ago this month (September)

To set the stage for our 100th anniversary next year, we are reflecting on events that led to the founding of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1912.

After Frank Perrett successfully measured the temperature of lava within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in late July 1911, the lake level dropped, and he could no longer conduct experiments there. Instead, he documented the lava lake activity and, in mid-August, he noted "an extraordinary object" afloat on the lake:

A huge, sausage-shaped, gas inflated balloon of black lava glass—triangular or box-shaped at one end and cylindrical at the other—was making its way across the lake. A lava fountain, boiling continuously under the eastern end, gave the appearance of a screw propeller, and this most amazing contrivance seemed to be navigating the lake under its own power like a great whaleback steamer, or a black Zeppelin airship. Its length was not less than 170 feet and the cylindrical portion about 30 feet in diameter. "A huge, sausage-shaped, gas inflated balloon of black lava glass"triangular or box-shaped at one end and cylindrical at the other"was making its way across the lake. A lava fountain, boiling continuously under the eastern end, gave the appearance of a screw propeller, and this most amazing contrivance seemed to be navigating the lake under its own power like a great whaleback steamer, or a black Zeppelin airship. Its length was not less than 170 feet and the cylindrical portion about 30 feet in diameter."

Perret completed his weekly reports on Kīlauea's volcanic activity by mid-September 1911, detailing the continued drop in the lava lake level and the movement of the floating "lava islands." By the third week in September, he had abandoned the Technology Station on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater and relocated to Volcano House, where he continued to document Kīlauea's behavior. Continued next month...

HVO—100 years ago this month (August)
HVO—100 years ago this month (July)


Hawaiian volcanoes—This month in history (September)

September 26, 1919 blackdotA vent erupted on Mauna Loa's southwest rift zone at an elevation of about 11,000 feet, but lasted only a few hours. On September 29, another breakout lower on the rift zone erupted lava fountains up to120 m (400 ft) high, sending a river of lava down the volcano's forested slopes. Lava flows advanced 22 km (14 mi) in about 24 hours, reaching the sea north of Hoʻōpūloa, where it poured into the ocean for 10 days. The eruption then slowly waned until November 5, when all activity ceased.
map shows the 1855-56 lava flow terminus relative to Hilo and the bay
Image from eruption in and near Alae Crater September 22, 1961 blackdotKīlauea's fourth eruption in 1961 began on this day, following summit eruptions in February, March, and July. This flank eruption consisted of 13 small lava flows intermittently spaced along a 22-km (14-mi) segment of Kīlauea's east rift zone northeast of Nāpau Crater. The eruption, which covered about 200 acres before ending on September 25, also produced many new cracks that emitted volcanic gas and steam. An interesting secondary phenomenon of this eruption was the formation of numerous lava trees (left).


 
Archive of previous feature stories

  Halema`uma`u plume captures the sun in the early morning, creating a picturesque sight.
Photograph by M. Poland
November 14, 2008

Hanging with the sun and the moon

Top: Halema`uma`u plume captures the sun in the early morning, creating a picturesque sight.

Bottom: With stagnant winds present, Halema`uma`u plume stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon.

Archive of Featured Photographs

  With stagnant winds present, Halema`uma`u plume stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon.
Photograph by M. Poland
November 13, 2008

 

More Volcano Information from HVO and Beyond

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