Aerial view of lava fountains along a 250-m-long fissure during the
September 1977 eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Lava fountains from the steep
spatter cone in lower left reached 100 m high, but no significant flow came
from this vent. The middle vent would soon build a large rampart and feed the
main flows of the eruption. During the next four days, continued fountaining
resulted in coalescence of all the vent deposits to form a large spatter
cone, Pu`u Kia`i (Hawaiian for Guardian Hill).
The 1977 eruption began on September 13 when a discontinuous, en-echelon fissure broke out in the middle east rift zone between Kalalua and Pu`u Kauka. The initial fissure was 5.5 km long. The eruption lasted only 18 days.