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Mauna Loa 1950 Eruption

Detailed Description

On June 1, 1950, a 2.4-km (1.5 mi) long fissure erupted high on Mauna Loa's Southwest Rift Zone at 9:04 p.m. Minutes later, the roar of lava fountains could be heard up to 24 km (15 mi) away. Within three hours, an ‘A‘ā lava flow crossed the main highway on the west coast of the Island of Hawai‘i and inundated the village of Pahoehoe (all villagers reached safety unharmed, but, for some, it was a close call). Thirty-five minutes later, lava entered the ocean, creating billowy clouds of steam that rose 3,000 m (10,000 ft) into the air. This Mauna Loa eruption destroyed about two dozen structures and cut Highway 11 in three places, burying more than 1.6 km (1 mi) of the road, before ending on June 23. This aerial photo shows the erupting fissure early on the morning of June 2, 1950. The glow from it could be seen all the way to O‘ahu. Photo credit: Air National Guard, 199th Fighter Squadron.


Public Domain.