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The 1924 explosions of Kilauea volcano

Dancing the Charleston at the 8-10-ton block
The Charleston at the 8-10-ton block

The Charleston, flappers, 23-skiddoo, prohibition, the Roaring Twenties. So long ago. But look around at Kilauea, and one still sees evidence of another 1920's wildness. This one natural and awe inspiring. In 1924 Halemaumau Crater, on the floor of Kilauea's caldera, erupted explosively for the first time since 1790. For 17 days, rocks, ash, and dust roared from the crater. Rocks weighing many tons were hurled as far as a kilometer. One such block, thrown among bystanders during an explosion that killed one, is to the left and behind the modern carefree flappers dressed in twenties finery.

The feature story about this eruption uses contemporary written accounts and scratchy black and white photographs in an attempt to bring a feeling of immediacy to those events of so long ago. That period of explosions may be over, but there will be others in the future. So, put yourself in the place of those observing the May 1924 events. The next time, it could be you who write about and photograph Halemaumau in explosive action.Details of this 1924 explosive eruption.

Pahoehoe toe and sluggish lava flow around Pulama pali

Pahoehoe toe advances over ancient Hawaiian foot path
Pahoehoe toe advances over an ancient Hawaiian foot path at the base of Pulama pali. At this location, the footpath is built atop an `a`a flow that geologists estimate was erupted at least 1,500 years ago.
Sluggish lava flow on the Pulama pali
Sluggish lava flow spreads from the base of Pulama pali (background), burning vegetation sandwiched between flows emplaced in 1985 and 1992. As new lava continued to feed the leading edge of flow, the trailing surface inflated by several meters.


More Volcano Information from HVO and Beyond

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Volcano WatchCurrent issue of Volcano Watch essay, written weekly by USGS scientists.
National Park ServiceHawai`i Volcanoes National Park, home to HVO. Find visitor information and resources here. Graphic: Kids DoorVolcanoes for kids, from the Volcano World website.