HVO Presents ‘The Lava Flow That Came to Hilo’

December 31, 2015, 12:24 PM HST
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lava big island museum

Sketch by Joseph Nawahi and courtesy of National Park Service, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; HAVO 394.

In conjunction with Volcano Awareness month, Lyman Museum will present its opening program, “The Lava Flow That Came to Hilo: Mauna Loa 1880-1881,” on Monday, Jan. 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., as part of its ongoing Saigo Public Lecture Series.

The talk will feature Ben Gaddis and Jim Kauahikaua, personnel from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, who will share the story of this Mauna Loa eruption using maps, art and photographs.

In the past 160 years, five volcanic eruptions have sent lava flows to within 10 miles of Hilo Bay. The flow from the 1880-81 Mauna Loa eruption came the closest, posing an immediate threat to Hilo and its beautiful bay.

During the eruption, Princess Regent Lili‘uokalani and Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani came to Hawai`i Island and led the efforts to save Hilo Town. Both Christian prayers and appeals to Pele were offered, and preparations were made to dig ditches, construct rock barriers and blast dynamite in attempts to divert the advancing lava streams.

More than nine months later the flow stopped less than a mile from the bay front.


The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i.


Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. tp 4:30 p.m.

Admission to this program is free to museum members; $3 for nonmembers.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


For additional information, call (808) 935-5021, email [email protected] or go online.

For more information about the Hawai‘i Volcanos National Park’s collections, go online.





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