Usually, we aren’t so lucky to see the running eruption of lava. But the Mauna Ulu of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii was a different story. The lava eruption lasted an incredible duration of 1,774 days that was spread across five years.
It has been noted that the eruption produced about 460 million cubic yards of lava. From 1969 to 1974, the lava eruption was readily viewable to the public via observation platforms.
The US Geological Survey posted an image taken in 1969 by photographer J.B. Judd. It shows a rare dome fountain.
Measuring about 65 feet high, the symmetrical dome fountain was one of twelve fountaining events that occurred during the first year of the eruption.
The eruption was so heavy that it spilled into the ocean 7.5 miles away.
The symmetrical dome fountain lasted for several days, from October 10 to October 13, and may have reached up to 245 feet in height.
Typically, you would see upward sprays of lava, like a geyser. But to see one like a glowing orb is exceedingly rare. Though the photo deceptively looks like the domed fountain is sitting in the middle of the water, the event occurred on land. The waves in the foreground are actually ripples of lava.
Though Mauna Ulu is no longer the longest running eruption—Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, which has been ongoing since 1983 wins that prize—the photograph is a reminder of just how active Hawaii’s volcanos have been throughout history.