Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Skip past Left navigational barKilauea
black circleEruption Update
black circleEruption Summary
black circleHazards
black circleHistory
black circleVolcano Movies
Mauna Loa
black circleCurrent Status
black circleHazards
black circleHistory
              circleCurrent Eqs Map
black circleFelt EQs
black circleDestructive EQs
black circleSeismicity
black circleHazards, Zoning
black circleInstrumentation
black circleHualalai
black circleHaleakala
black circleLo`ihi
Volcanic Hazards
black circleFAQ-SO2 Vog Ash
black circleCurrent SO2Conditions
black circleOcean Entry
black circleLava Zones
black circleTypes
About HVO
black circleHistory of HVO
black circleVolunteer program
black circleLocation
black circleContact Us

This month in Hawaiian volcano history . . . .

May 19, 1916 blackdotMauna Loa's smallest flank eruption on record began on the volcano's southwest rift zone at an elevation of 3,355 m (11,000 ft). Two days later, a more vigorous fissure erupted about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) lower on the rift zone, sending two main flows of 'a'ā lava downslope at speeds of up to 8 km (5 mi) per hour. Neither flow reached the ocean, but both destroyed pasturelands and caused some Ka'ū and South Kona ranchers to evacuate their homes. The eruption ended on May 31.
Image from May 19, 1916 Mauna Loa flank eruption

May 10, 1924 Kīlauea's first explosive eruption May 10, 1924 blackdotKīlauea's first explosive eruption since about AD 1790 began on this night. Following small events on May 11-12, a series of violent explosions began on May 13. The intensity peaked on May 18, when multiple explosions sent black clouds of dust more than 6,500 m (21,000 ft) high and blasted a 10-ton boulder about 1,050 m (3,500 ft) from the crater rim. By the time the eruption ended on May 27, Halema`uma`u was twice its former diameter and triple its former depth.

May 31, 1954 blackdotThis 3.5-day-long Kīlauea summit eruption began around 4:00 a.m., when a series of fissures cut across the Halema'uma'u Crater floor, spewing lava up to 30 m (100 ft) above the crater rim. Lava also poured from a crack in the northeastern crater wall, cascading into the surging lava pool on the crater floor. The fissure soon extended up the crater wall and across Kīlauea's caldera floor to the northeast. By mid-morning, the eruption waned, with only weak spattering and lava outflow continuing until June 3.
May 31, 1954 3.5-day-long Kīlauea summit eruption

May 24, 1969 Mauna Ulu eruption May 24, 1969 blackdotThe Mauna Ulu eruption on Kīlauea's east rift zone lasted five years. During the first 2.5 years, the fissure eruption was almost continuous and often spectacular. After a 3.5-month pause in activity (October 1971 to February 1972), the eruption resumed and continued to July 1974, with lava flows covering 17.6 square miles and adding about 230 acres of new land to Hawai'i Island. It was Kīlauea's longest and largest east rift zone eruption in recorded history until surpassed by the ongoing Pu`u `Ō `ō eruption.

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

Earthquake seismogramReport a felt earthquake to HVO using this form.
More USGS Volcano Web sites

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.
Skip past main content navigational bar

Homeblank spacerVolcano Watchblank spacerProductsblank spacerGalleryblank spacerPress Releases
How Hawaiian Volcanoes Work

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, USA
Contact HVO
     phone: 808-967-7328 M-F 8 am - 4:30 pm H.s.t.

| USGS Privacy Statement | USGS Disclaimer | Accessibility |
Last modification: 3 May 2011 (pnf)