Violent Volcanic Eruption Sends Jet of Molten Lava 800 Feet in the Air

A Kilauea shield volcano in Hawaii

Violent Volcanic Eruption Sends Jet of Molten Lava 800 Feet in the Air

Mount Kilauea, one of the most prominent volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands, has been around for as long as 280,000 years. Considered one of the five most active volcanoes that helped form the main island of Hawaii, it has erupted numerous times, including as recently as June 2024. However, this video will look at an eruption from 1955 when lava erupted into the air as high as 800 feet.

Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Island
Mount Kilauea is located on the main island of Hawaii.

Mount Kilauea is located on the main island of Hawaii near the southeasternmost point. This specific eruption location is about 20 miles east of the Kilauea Caldera, or the volcano’s summit.

Steam Vents

Volcanic Activity
The first signs of volcanic activity can be seen here.

Among the first signs of volcanic activity in 1955 were multiple steam vents forming near the volcano. These volcanic vents are a mixture of steam and sulfur oxide, which blow into the air as a release mechanism.

Lava Bulb

Lava bulb
Looking closely, you can see the first sign of lava coming to the surface.

With yet another view of the steam vents, we get one of the first glimpses of lava as part of this eruption cycle. In the middle of the still image, you can see a slight orange/red glow, indicating lava is trying to burst through the surface.

First Spatter Cone

Spatter cone
The first spatter cone is another strong indicator of an impending eruption.

This still photo shows one of the first spatter cones the camera people could identify and film. These cone-shaped volcanic structures form during the final stages of an eruption and can throw lava into the air.

Lava Fountain

Lava erupting
Lava jumps up to 250 feet in the air in this image.

In this incredible photo captured from the video, this particular lava fountain is spewing lava up to 250 feet in the air. Lava constantly pushes through the vent and bursts into the air around the clock.

800 Feet

Lava 800 feet
In this video part, you can see the lava jump 800 feet.

This image captures the venting of the largest lava fountain during the 1955 eruption, which threw lava up to 800 feet into the air. The video calls it a “great jet of molten lava” that seemingly has no end as lava spews out hour after hour.

Super Hot

2000 degrees
In this image, the lava can reach as much as 2,000 degrees.

According to researchers, the lava flow spewed a volume of around half a million cubic yards per hour and had a temperature north of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was measured using an optical pyrometer to get an accurate reading.

600 Feet

600 feet
Another image shows the lava erupting up to 600 feet in the air.

In this view, you get another look at a separate lava fountain from a distance. The video shows the lava being thrown at least 600 feet high before falling to the ground. Like the other lava fountains, there is just non-stop lava ejecting from this cinder cone.

Mini Volcano

Lava fountain
This looks like a mini volcano as part of the larger eruption.

As part of the previous image, the giant lava fountain grows into a mini-volcano. More accurately described as a cinder pumice cone, the area grows larger as the lava falls to the ground and hardens, building up something like a mini-volcano.

Lots of Dust

Cinder Cone
With this image, you can see dust forming due to the lava eruption.

While difficult to see in these still images, the lava hits the ground and immediately kicks up large areas of clouds of dust. This dust can travel for miles, making it difficult to see and breathe.

Active Cinder Cone

Active cinder cone
In this image, you can almost see inside an active cinder cone.

In this unique image, you can see right inside the middle of an active cinder cone. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime view for many people. What’s most notable is that as powerful as this smaller cinder cone is, the caldera of Mount Kilauea would be much more powerful.

Watch the Full Video

Lava river
You can watch the full video to see the full scale of this lava river.

You can watch the full video to see this sizable lava river flow, which can be up to 50 feet wide. It’s an incredible look at what happens during a volcanic eruption that goes beyond the typical caldera explosions.

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