Hawaii has faced some of the longest volcano eruptions of all time. One of the longest eruptions were the Mauna Ulu eruption of the Kilauea Volcano, which had an incredible duration of 1,774 days spread across five years.
Back then, it was Kilauea's longest running eruption and produced about 460 million cubic yards of lava. During the time between 1969 and 1974, the astonishing eruption was readily viewable to the public via observation platforms. It also produced some incredible natural phenomena rarely seen during these volcanic events.
Recently, the US Geological Survey released more incredible photos dating back to 1969, which were taken by photographer J.B. Judd. This amazing photos shows a rare dome fountain that was created by the lava. The dome measured about 20 meters in height. During the first year of eruption, twelve fountaining events were recorded, and this symmetrical dome fountain was only one of them. During the fountaining events, the outward spread of lava reached so high up in the air that it spilled into the ocean 7.5 miles away.
The symmetrical dome fountain, which reached up to 245 feet in height, lasted for several days, from October 10 to October 13.
Dome fountain of episode 10, October 10–13, 1969, eruption of Kilauea Volcano. This dome fountain is about 20m (65 ft) high. Symmetrical dome fountains such as this are rare. #Tbt #HI @Volcanoes_NPS pic.twitter.com/sKSQaVINKs
So what makes this dome fountain so special? Typical fountaining events are upward sprays of lava, like a geyser. Instead, to see a glowing orb akin to Epcot Center formed from lava is exceedingly rare.
Even though the photo may look like the domed fountain is sitting in the middle of water, the fountaining event actually occurred on land, and the waves in the foreground are actually ripples of lava.
Fountaining typically occurs when an eruption of lava from a fissure, vent, or lava lake is triggered when gas bubbling up in the molten rock causes expansion – and explosion.
Mauna Ulu is indeed no longer the longest running eruption, and has handed that prize over to Pu’u ‘Ō‘ō, which has been ongoing since 1983.