Just after 8 p.m. on November 14, 1959, a fissure erupted on the south wall of Kīlauea Iki Crater. Within a day, multiple vents along the fissure had consolidated into one main vent. Over the next five weeks, lava fountains gushed from the vent in 17 separate episodes, flooding the crater with a lava lake about 135 m (440 ft) deep. Lava fragments falling from the high fountains also formed a cinder-and-spatter cone named Puʻu Puaʻi (gushing hill) on the rim of Kīlauea Iki. Three days before the eruption ended on December 20, 1959, lava blasted 580 m (1,900 ft) above the vent—the highest lava fountain ever measured in Hawaiʻi.
Join Charlene Meyers, as she talks about this remarkable eruption as well as the volcanic activity of 2018.
This program is offered at a special price of $50.00 per person. Purchase your ticket(s) above.
Descend through a lush rain forest to the floor of the solidified, however still steaming Kīlauea Iki Crater lava lake. Peer into the 1959 vent that erupted to a height of 1900 feet located below the Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone.
Meet at Kīlauea Iki Overlook 19.4169444, -155.2511111
Of interest: Walking through a rain forest, viewing native birds, walk on the 1959 lava lake, view steam vents, cinder cones and spatter cones.
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging – Steep and rocky, descent & ascent 400 feet (122m).
Distance and hiking time: 4 mile (6.4 km) loop. Approximately 4 hours.
Distance from Visitor Center to trailhead: 2 miles (3.2km).
Trail begins: At the Kīlauea Iki parking lot on Crater Rim Drive.
Bring: Water, lunch, hat, sunscreen and rain gear. Be prepared for hot, dry, wet, windy weather conditions and steep and rocky terrain.
This event is presented by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.