50-Year-Old Kīlauea Dome Fountain Photo Resurfaces on Social Media

April 6, 2018, 9:01 AM HST (Updated April 6, 2018, 9:03 AM)

Mainstream media has picked up on a 50-year-old USGS image tweeted on March 29, 2018—an image of a ocean dome fountain that is nearly 65 feet tall.

The photo shows a rare dome fountain eruption from October 1969.

“Symmetrical dome fountains such as this are rare,” the USGS said on Twitter.

The dome fountain was part of the Mauna Ulu eruption of Kīlauea Volcano’s east rift zone, which started in May 1969 and ended in July 1974.


At the time, no eruption of Kilauea’s flank had lasted longer or spewed out more lava in more than two centuries.

When Mauna Ulu erupted on May 24, 1969, lava blocked Chain of Craters Road.

Map showing area covered by lava flows of Mauna Ulu eruption. PC: USGS

The USGS reported that at the time, it was the longest-lasting and most voluminous eruption on Kīlauea’s flank in at least 2,200 years.


The eruption lasted 1,774 days and produced about 460 million cubic yards of lava. The ongoing Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption, which started in 1983 and continues until today, has far surpassed these figures.

In addition to the lava dome fountain, there were at least a dozen other “fountaining events” in 1969 alone. Those other fountains shot lava as high as 1,700 feet in the air.




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