Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Photo Information

Tallest lava fountain as seen from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Photograph by D.H. Richter at 2:00 p.m. on December 17, 1959

This view from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is looking across Kilauea Caldera to the tallest lava fountain of the Kilauea Iki eruption--580 m (1,900 ft) above the vent (not visible from the observatory). Observers described the "awesome and terrifying" fountain as having developed in only 12 minutes with no warning from a small 8-15 m fountain. This tremendous fountain led rangers of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to consider an evacuation of the Park's housing area, 1.2-1.8 km northwest of the vent.

The dark cloud on the leeward side of the fountain consists of falling tephra, primarily pumice.

Back to Eruption of Kilauea Iki Crater

HomeVolcano WatchProductsPhoto GalleryPress Releases
How Hawaiian Volcanoes Work

The URL of this page is
Updated: 24 May 2000